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Y Sf<*v. ^^^'■i.; . \)> IS 


' THE 

Court of Charles IV 





Author of "Gloria," "Trafalgar," etc. 

From the Spanish by CLARA BELL 


o^;i> [ b J. J . 










I, vouR humble servant, had neither home nor 
place in Madrid, neither kin nor possessions, and was 
wandering through the city, cursing the luckless hour in 
which I left my native town for the inhospitable capital, 
when I had recourse to the pages of the ^^ Diario^* 
newspaper in quest of some respectable employment. 
The paper proved a means of rescue to the hapless 
Gabriel — destitute, hungry, alone, and despairing — for 
within three days of having given publicity in type to the 
superior qualities with which I believed myself gifted by 
nature, I was taken into the service of an actress at the 
Theatre ^^ del Principe ^^ Pepita Gonzalez by name, orZ^jf 
Gonzalez, This happened in 1805 ; the episode I am 
about to narrate did not however occur till two years 
later, in 1807, when I, if I calculate rightly, was sixteen 
years old, indeed very nearly seventeen. 


I will presently describe my new mistress. First of 
all I must explain that my work, though not trifling, 
was various and well adapted to ground me rapidly in 
knowledge of the world. I will give a list of the daily 
and nightly occupations to which I devoted all my 
mental and physical faculties with the utmost possible 

My duties in the actress' service were : 

To attend her hairdressing, which was performed 
between noon and one o'clock daily, under the aus- 
pices of Maestro Richiardini, a Neapolitan artist in 
that line, to whose supreme skill the highest heads in 
the capital submitted themselves. ... 

To go shopping, to the CalU del Desengano 
(Undeception Street) in quest of pearl white, of Cir- 
cassian elixir, pf pomade ^ la Sultana, or of Mar6chale 
powder, very important requisites which were sold by 
one Monsieur Gastan, who had obtained the secret of 
preparing them from the very purveyor who had sup- 
plied them to Marie Antoinette. 

To go to the CalU de la Rnna (Queen Street) num- 
ber 21, a squalid place where there was a workshop for 
printing or painting stuffs in colors ; for jt that time it 
was the fashion to wear painted silk dresses, usually of 
a light color. This was done in such a way that when 
the pattern was out of fashion the same silk could be 
turned and painted again with different flowers or sub- 
jects, thus effecting a happy alliance between fashion 
and economy and setting an example to later times. 

To carry, every evening, a dish of olkty with the re- 



mains of a puchero^ some broken bread, and other frag- 
ments of a meal, to Don Luciano Francisco Cornelia, 
the author of many famous comedies, now pining with 
hunger in a house in the CalU de la Berengena, with 
his daughter, a hunchback, who helped him in his dra- 
matic work. 

To clean and polish the crown and sceptre dis- 
played by my mistress as Queen of Mongolia in the 
play entitled, " All lost in a day for a blind and mad 
love, and the false Czar of Muscovy." 

To help her in studying her parts, particularly in 
the comedy of "Sir John's Tenants, or the Indian 
Family Juanito and Coleta ; " in which it was my task 
to take the part of Lord LuUeswing that she might the 
better understand that of Lady Pankoff. 

To fetch the sedan chair in which she was con- 
veyed to the theatre and even to help carry the chair 
when necessary. 

To frequent the gallery of the theatre de la Cruz in 
order to hiss "The Maidens' Yes"* a play that my 
mistress held in at least as much aversion as the others 
by the same author. 

To walk out on the square of Santo Ana, pretend- 
ing to look into the shops, but in reality listening with 
covert attention to what was being said in the knots 
that collected there of actors or dancers, and trying to 
discover what those of la Cruz theatre had to say 
against those oi el Principe. 

* El si de las Ninas. 


To be off to procure a balcony ticket for the bull- 
fight, either at the office or at the house of Espinilla 
the banderilleroy who would retain one for my mistress as 
an offering from a friendship not less old than faithful. 

To accompany her to the theatre, where it was my 
part to hold the sceptre and crown till she came off 
after the second scene of the second act in "The False 
Czar," to reappear transformed into a queen, to the 
utter confusion of Orloff and the magnates who had 
supposed her to be an itinerant tart-seller. 

To give due warning to the claque as to the pas- 
sages in the plays or musical interludes where they 
were to applaud loudly, and to hint at what the other 
party had in preparation, so that they should be pre- 
pared with patriotic zeal for the struggle. 

To call every day at the house of Isidoro Maiquez 
under pretext of asking him some question with refer- 
ence to the dresses in the play ; but, in reality, to as- 
certain whether a certain person happened to be with 
him — whose name I reserve for the present. 

To play some trivial part, such as that of a page 
who came on with a letter saying merely : " Take 
this !" — or of the first peasant or citizen who, when 
the crowd came into the presence of the king, had to 
exclaim : " Sire, Justice !" or " At your royal feet, 
crowned offepring of the Sun !" — This kind of talk 
made me quite happy for a night. Not to speak of a 
hundred other tasks, commissions and employments, 
which I do not enumerate for it would be too long, 
and weary my readers more than is right. In the 


course of this veracious history my achievements will 
be made known and at the same time the various and 
complicated duties I had to perform. 

I will now introduce my mistress, the matchless 
Pepita Gonzalez, omitting nothing that can help to 
give a perfect idea of the world in which she lived. 

My mistress was fascinating rather than handsome, 
in £ELCt fascination so conspicuously irradiated her 
whole person that it seemed perfection without being 
so. All that could be called beauty of face, and that 
is known by the name of expression, charm, coquetry, 
witchery, was concentrated in her black eyes, capable 
of themselves of saying more by a glance than Ovid in 
his poem on the art which can never be learnt, but 
which every one knows. The descriptions given by 
Canizares and Aiiorbe • of the eyes of their heroines as 
burning asps; BXid. flctshing^ flame-darting orbs were 
really not hyperbolical as applied to my mistress' eyes. 

Very commonly in remembering the persons we 
knew in our youth, we either recall their most marked 
peculiarities or else some detail which notwithstanding 
its insignificance has stamped itself indelibly on our 
memory. Thus it is with my reminiscences of La 
Gonzalez. When I think of her, two circumstances 
are vivid to my mind : her incomparable eyes, and the 
tap of her shoes — " the tiny prisons of her pretty sup- 
ports •* as Valladares or Moncin would say. 

* Poets of the first half of the i8th century, see Ticknor's Span- 
ish Literature. 


I do not know whether this is enough to enable 
you to form an idea of so bewitching a woman. 1, as 
I think of her, see at once those large black eyes^ 
whose gaze might avail to wake the dead, and hear the 
tip-tap of her light foot-fall. These are enough to re- 
vive her image in the dark depths' of my fancy, and 
beyond a doubt she is there! I remember that she 
never wore a dress, or a mantilla, or a ribbon, or a 
costume, however extravagant, that did not become 
her ; that her movements had a special grace, a certain 
indescribable and indefinable charm which might be 
conveyed if language were rich enough to express in a 
single word audacity and bashfulness, modesty and in- 
vitation. This rare combination of antithetical charac- 
teristics lies either in the fact that there is nothing more 
hypocritical than a certain kind of demureness, or in 
the discovery, made by Malignity, that the best way to 
over-match modesty is to imitate it 

Be this as it may, it is certain that La Gonzalez 
electrified the pubhc by the graceful motions of her 
body, by her lovely voice, her pathetic declamation in 
sentimental pieces, and her inexhaustible fun in comic 
ones. She was equally triumphant whenever she ap- 
peared in the street, and always surrounded by ad- 
mirers and the play-goers of the pit, whether she were 
going to the bull-fight in a carriage or hackney coach, 
or coming out of the theatre in a sedan chair. As 
soon as her smiling face was seen at the window^ 
fi'amed in the lace of her white mantilla, she was 
hailed with shouts and clapping : '* Here comes all the 


grace of the world ! Hurrah for the salt of Spain !'' 
and other similar expressions. These acts of street 
homage gave her adorers much satisfaction ; and her, 
too — that is to say us, since servants always appro- 
priate a share in their masters' triumphs. 

Pepita was a woman of much susceptibility, and in 
my opinion of very keen and violent feelings, though, 
in consequence of a reserve so systematic that it 
seemed a second nature in her, she was commonly 
thought cold. I can vouch, too, for her being very 
charitable, and loving to alleviate all the misery that 
came under her notice. Her house was besieged by the 
poor, particularly on Saturdays ; and one of my most 
laborious tasks was that of distributing small coin and 
broken food, when I had not taken it all to Seiior de 
Comella, who was always starving, though he was none 
the less the wonder of the age and the first of Uving 
dramatists. La Gonzalez lived in her own house with 
no companion but her grandmother, Dofia Domini- 
guita — an old woman of eighty — and two servants, 
myself and a woman, who waited on her. 

And now, having told all the good, may I venture 
to tell the evil side of Pepa Gonzalez' life and charac- 
ter ? — No ; I will say nothing about that. In excuse 
for the errors of the dark-eyed girl it may be said that 
she had grown up on the boards; since her mother 
had played the part of go-between in the gorgeous 
houses of la Cruz and los Canos^ while her father 
played the double-bass at los Sitios and the Chapel 
Royal. Pepita was the offspring of this luckless and 


ill-assorted union; she began to leam her business 
from her earliest infancy, and was so precocious that 
at the age of twelve she made her first appearance on 
the stage, in a part in the play by Don Antonio Fru- 
mento, called " Sastre^ rey y reo d un tUmpo, o el 
Sastre de Astracdn,^^ Knowing, therefore, the school 
she was brought up in, and the far from austere man- 
ners of that light-hearted folk — who were in a way 
justified in being worse than their neighbors by the 
contempt in which they were held — would it not be 
folly to expect to find in my mistress those rigid prin- 
ciples which, allowing for the circumstances of her life, 
would have qualified her for canonization. 

It remains to speak of her as an actress. On this 
head I can only say that at that time she seemed to 
me admirable: I do not know what effect her dec- 
lamation might have upon me now if I were to see 
her on the boards of one of our theatres. When my 
niistress was at the height of her glory she had no re- 
doubtable rivals to contend with. Maria del Rosario 
Fernandez, known as La Tirana^ had died in 1803. 
Rita Luna, no less famous, had retired from the stage 
in 1806; and Marfa Fernandez, known z.%La Caramba 
had also disappeared. La Prado, Josefa Virg, Marfa 
Ribera, Maria Garcia and others of that time had no 
remarkable gifts ; so that even if my mistress was not 
conspicuously brilliant beyond her contemporaries, at 
any rate she did not pale by the glory of any hostile 
star. The only person who at that time attracted the 
attention and applause of all Madrid was Maiquez, and 


no actress could regard him as a rival, since antago- 
nism and emulation do not generally exist excepting 
between divinities of the same sex. 

Pepa Gonzalez was a stout adherent of the anti- 
Moratin party ; not only because the enemies of the il- 
lustrious poet were numerous in the circle in which she 
moved, but because she had some personal motives, 
to me unknown, for irreconcilable resentment. And 
here I am obliged, however unwillingly, to record an 
observation which certainly does little credit to my 
mistress ; still, as truth is my first object, I must ex- 
press my opinion and defy the manes of Pepita Gon- 
zalez. It is this : that the actress of the * Principe * was 
not remarkable for good taste in literary matters — 
neither in her choice of dramatic pieces nor in her 
selection of books wherewith to supply her constant 
reading. In fact the poor girl had never read Luzdn 
or Mortiano, nor ever heard of Jorge Pitillas and his 
satire ; • no mortal had ever taken the trouble of ex- 
plaining to her Batteux of Blair ; for her presence was 
more apt to suggest Ovid than Aristotle, and Boccaccio 
rather than Boileau-Despr^aux. Consequently my 
patroness ranged herself under the flag of Don Eleu- 
terio Crispin de Andorra — be it said with all respect 
to the knit-browed Aristarchus; and indeed she saw 

* Mortiano wrote an essay on taste as an introduction to his 
tragedy of Virginia; Luzan was the auUior of a treatise called " La 
Poetica ; " Batteux was one of the earliest advocates of strict realism 
(d. 1780) ; Blair was an English essayist of the last century. Pitillas 
was a pseudonym assumed by Herbas who published a satire " on 
the bad writers of his time." 


no further, nor would she have understood all the 
jargon of rules and precepts, even though preached by 
bare-footed friars. It is necessary to add that the 
Abb6 Cladera — of whom the famous Don Herm6genes 
seems to be a faithful portrait — was an intimate friend 
of my heroine's father, and there can be no doubt that 
this amiable pedant sowed the seed, in her childhood^ 
of those principles which in other brains brought forth 
" The great blockade of Vienna,** 

In short, my mistress liked the wofks of Comella,. 
though latterly, in view of the discredit into which this 
divinity of the boards had fallen, hurling him into misery 
from the very summit of his popularity, she did not dare 
own it in the face of literary or fashionable people. As 
I had the opportunity of learning from hearing her con- 
conversation and noticing her choice of books, she liked 
such plays as had a good deal of busde of entrances 
and exits, military reviews, hungry children crying for 
the breast, a grand scene of a large square with a tri- 
lunphal arch on one side, bearded personages — such 
as Irish, Russians or Scandinavians, and the style of 
writing which gave the heroine such speeches in a 
critical situation as: ''A living statue I, of ice!'' or: 
" Revenge, I must feign ! — Hatred, we must dis- 
semble ! — Cunning, favor my hopes I" 

I remember hearing her many a time lament that 
modem taste had driven from the stage such concer- 
tante speeches as the following, (which, if I remember 
rightly occurs in the drama of ^ La mayor piedad de 
Leopoldo el Grande*): 



Margarita. Come, Love ! 

Nadasti! Hatred 1 

Zrin. Doubt ! 

CArlos. Horror] 

Albuquerque. Confusion 1 

Ulrica. Misery ! 

Let us hope that time will re- 
All six together. veal that which you have not 

told us. 

As this class of literature was falling into neglect 
my mistress rarely had the pleasure of seeing " Peter 
the Great at the siege of Pultowa " on the stage, com- 
manding his men to eat raw horse-flesh without salt, 
and promising for his part to eat stones rather than 
surrender. I ought to add that her preference was 
based on her obstinate aversion for the Moratin party 
more than on any lack of intelligence to understand 
the superiority of the newer school ; and also that my 
mistress, who was every inch of her a staunch and un- 
compromising Spaniard, believed that rules and good 
taste were evil things simply because they were foreign^ 
and that to display her patriotism it was enough to 
cling to the extravagancies of our native Castilian 
poets as to a sacred labarum. She regarded Cal- 
deron and Lope de Vega as worthy of all admiration^ 
but solely because they were contemned by the classi- 

I should find pleasure in enlarging here on the 


subject of literary parties, on the literary knowledge of 
people in general, and of those who struggle so des- 
perately to win public favor ; but I fear to be tedious 
and to digress too £sa from my principal aim, which is 
not the discussion in academic style of subjects which 
the reader knows more about perhaps than I do. 
Such irrelevant matter may stay at the bottom of the 
ink-bottle ; I will proceed, having recorded the fact of 
my mistress' bad taste — which in these days would 
be a blemish in any lady, artist, or amateur of what is 
known as the world, though at that time it did not 
avail to tarnish the unfailing charms of her person. 

You are now fully introduced to her; I will there- 
fore go on to tell my tale as I purposed — but, by-the- 
bye! — it strikes me that I ought to go no further 
without making my readers acquainted with the part I 
played, to my grief, in the famous production of " The 
Maidens* Yes " of which the result was that the strained 
relations between my mistress and Moratin gave way 
to a formal rupture. 


These events preceded those which I shall pres- 
ently relate; but that matters not. "The Maidens' 
Yes" was first performed in January, 1806. My mis- 
tress was playing in Zos Canos del Peral^ for the Prin- 



cipe (or Prince's) theatre, which had been burnt down^ 
was not yet rebuilt. Moratin's piece had been read 
several times at parties at the house of the Prince 
of Peace, and was spoken of as a work which must 
greatly enhance his reputation. His Uterary enemies, 
who were many, and the envious, who were many 
more, set afloat various sinister rumors, saying that it 
was a heavy play, more sleep-compelling than "Z^j 
Mo/igata,* more vulgar than " El Baron " and more 
unpatriotic than "^/ Cafi,^^ Some days before the 
production satires and diatribes were circulated from 
hand to hand, though they did not get into print. 
Nay, accusations of a still more terrible effect were 
whispered, intended to excite the suspicions of the ec- 
clesiastical censorship and prevent the performance, but 
the talents of our greatest dramatist triumphed over all 
and " The Maidens' Yes " was produced on the 24th of 
January. I was a member — not without a gleeful 
satisfaction that was very excusable in a lad so young 
— of the tremendous conspiracy hatched in the green- 
room of the Canos del Btral and in other obscure 
nooks where some of the most famous dramatists of 
the former century were now living miserably, their 
ink-bottles choked with spiders* webs. This conspiracy 
was headed by a poet, of whose person and appearance 
you may form some idea by picturing that of the writer 
selected by Mercury out of the prating crowd, to be 
presented to Apollo. I no longer remember his name^ 
but I clearly recollect his face, which was that of a 
squalid and contemptible being, formed morally and 


physically by mother Nature in her stingiest mood. 
His soul was consumed by envy and his body by 
want; he grew more hideous and repulsive year by 
year; and as his uncultured muse, tried in every kind 
of verse from the heroic to the didactic, produced 
nothing but what was loathsome even to the sectarians 
of his school, he had dedicated it at last to the compo- 
sition of coarse diatribes and gross critiques, aimed at 
the enemies of those by whose protection he lived at 
the cost only of adulation. 

This son of Apollo led us in an imposing procession 
to the gallery of the theatre de la CruZy where we were 
to point out the errors of the classic school by marked 
signs of disapprobation. We had some difficulty in 
getting into the theatre, for it was extraordinarily 
crowded that evening ; finally however, thanks to our 
having arrived among the first, we found oursdves oc- 
cupying the best seats of that Paradise in which were 
wont to combine the discordant clamors of literary ani- 
mosities and the evil odors of a public not distin- 
guished for refinement and culture. 

You think perhaps that the interior of a play-house 
at that time must have been much the same as that of 
our modem theatres. But what a mistake! In the 
lofty region where our poet had drawn up his riotous 
battalion there was a partition dividing the men from 
the women, and the wise legislator who had made this 
arrangement in the remote past had no doubt rubbed 
his hands with satisfaction and struck his august brow 
with pride as he thought that he had taken a wide step 


forward on the way to peace between the sexes. But 
quite the reverse: this separation only increased the 
natural disposition of the male and female to enter into 
conversation, and the talk which proximity would have 
allowed them to carry on in low tones this treacher- 
ous gulf authorized them to shout in discordant 
voices. Thus loving, or mocking, or obscene remarks 
were exchanged between the two hemispheres; ob- 
servations that made all the distinguished company 
roar with laughter; requests responded to by oaths, 
and witticisms in which the point consisted in their 
being shrieked as loud as possible. Often enough 
words came to deedi^ and a few broadsides of chest- 
nuts, hazel nuts or orange peel were fired from pole to 
pole by dexterous hands — a mode of warfare which, if 
it interrupted the performance, afforded great enjoy- 
ment to both parties. 

At the same time, it is but fair to say that this gal- 
lery public, disgraced as it was by a coarse exterior, 
displayed keen artistic instincts, weeping with Rita 
Luna in Kotzebue's play of " The Stranger " and sym- 
pathizing with the sublime horror of Isidore in the 
Tragedy of Orestes. On the other hand, no public in the 
world ever outdid thi& one in facetiousness in laughing 
at bad writers, or at poets that were not to its taste. 
Equally ready to laugh or to be sentimental, it yielded 
with the simplicity of a child to the suggestions of the 
scene. If any man failed ever to please it the fault 
was his own. 

The theatre as seen from this height looked the 


most dispial place conceivable. The feeble oil lamps, 
lighted by a boy who sprang from seat to seat, only 
half illumined it with such a dim glimmer that, even 
with opera-glasses, it was difficult to make out the 
faded figures on the smoky ceiling where Apollo, in 
flesh-colored buskins, was cutting capers, with a lyre in 
one hand. The ceremony of lighting the centre giran- 
dole was a thing to see; and when the difficult task 
was accomplished, it slowly rose by machinery amid 
the exclamations of the gods of the gallery, who 
would not miss such a good opportunity of expressing 
themselves in an audible manner. 

Below us there was another partition, formed by a 
strong barrier called the degolladero ; this divided the 
pit circle from the pit properly so-called. The boxes 
were narrow, dark compartments in which persons of 
quality made themselves as comfortable as circum- 
stances allowed, and as it was the custom for the ladies 
to hang their shawls and parasols over the front of the 
boxes, the space between the galleries looked as though 
intentionally decorated to represent a rag fair or a 
pawnbroker's shop. 

The regulations for the ordering of theatres issued 
in 1803 were intended to. correct these abuses; how- 
ever, as no one cared to see them carried out, only 
custom and the general progress of humanity could 
reform these evil customs. I remember that, long 
after the time of which I am speaking, men kept their 
hats on, although one of the articles of the regulations 
expressly ran as follows : " No one without exception, 


is to wear a hat in the boxes of any tier, nor any cap or 
head covering ; but cloaks and wraps are allowed." 

While we were waiting for the curtain to rise the 
poet gave me a full and particular account of the nu- 
merous works he had written, dramatic, comic, elegiac 
and epigrammatic — hunting-songs and bucolics,— 
sentimental or a mixture of all sorts. He set forth the 
argument of three or four tragedies which needed only 
the patronage of a Mecaenas to leave the Muses for 
the stage ; and then — as though it were an insufficient 
purgation for my sins to have listened to these plots — 
he spouted some sonnets, [which without being quite 
equal to the famous " Re-echoing genius by the Istee 
who exalted the Maraiion " werie as like it as two peas.] 

When the performance was about to begin the poet 
turned his eagle eye on the abyss of the pit beneath, to 
see whether the other and not less important captains 
of the demonstration against " The Maidens* Yes " had 
arrived punctually. All were at their post, with faith- 
ful zeal for the national cause. Not one was missing : 
there was the glazier from the Calle de la Sarten, one 
of the most distinguished leaders of the pit-claque; 
and the bookseller of the Costanilla de los AngeleSy 
a man experienced in the humanities; there was 
Cuarta y Media, whose powerful lungs were alone 
enough to silence all the admirers of *'^La Mogigata/* 
the tinman of the Tres Cruces, a valiant chief who 
carried under his cloak some bright and clattering 
kettle, to startle the audience with a symphony not 
announced in the programme; the matchless Roque 

t8 the court of CHARLES IV. 

Pamplinas — barber, veterinary surgeon, and blood- 
letter, who, with his fingers between his teeth, could 
defy all the flute-players of Greece and Rome — in 
short all the ripest and choicest spirits that ever 
measured swords in literary lists. My poet was satis- 
fied with this review of his forces, and we then all 
directed our attention to the stage where the play had 

" What an opening !" he exclaimed, as he listened 
to the first dialogue between Don Diego and Simon. 
" A pretty way to begin a comedy ! The scene a vil- 
lage inn ! What can happen of any interest in a vil- 
lage inn? In all my plays, and they are many — 
though never a one has been represented — the action 
opens in a Corinthian garden, with monumental foun- 
tains to the right and left, a temple of Juno in the 
background; or a wide square with three regiments 
drawn up, and in the background the town of Warsaw 
with a bridge, and so forth. And just listen to the 
twaddle this old man is made to talk ! He is about to 
marry a young girl who has been brought up by the 
nuns of Guadalajara. Well, is that very remarkable ? 
Is it not a matter of everyday occurrence ?" 

Pouring out these remarks that confounded poet 
did not allow me to hear a word of the piece, and 
though I answered all his comments with humbly ac- 
quiescent monosyllables, I only wished that he would 
hold his tongue, deuce take him ! However, I had to 
listen to him; when Dona Irene and Dona Paquita 
appeared on the scene my friend and captain could 


not control his disgust at seeing two personages repre- 
sented, of whom one was quite as important as her 
mistress, while she, on her part, was neither a princess, 
nor a canoness, nor a Landgravine, nor an arch- 
duchess of Russia or Mongolia. 

" What a vulgar subject ! what low ideas !" he ex- 
claimed loud enough for every one to hear. "And 
this is how comedies are written I Why, do not you 
hear — the lady is talking in the same common-place 
way as if she were Mariquita or Gumersinda or Aunt 
Candungas? What if there were a bishop in the 
family; what if the nuns did educate the girl to be 
artless and simple, if the nasty thing did marry Don 
Epitafio at nineteen, and she had two and twenty chil- 
dren ! — Why, it would have been the death of the 
horrid old woman !" 

" But let us listen to it," said I, finding my chief's 
comments quite intolerable. " We can laugh at Mora- 
tin afterwards." 

" But I cannot bear such a medley of absurdities," 
he went on. " We do not come to the theatre to see 
just what is to be seen any day in the streets, or in 
every house you go into. If instead of enlarging on 
her maternal experiences, the lady were to come in in- 
voking curses on an enemy because he had killed one 
and twenty of her sons in battle, and left her with only 
the twenty-second still an infant at the breast, and if 
she had to carry him off to save him from being eaten 
by the besieged, all dying of famine — then there 
would be some interest in the plot, and the public 


would clap till their hands were sore. — Gabriel, my 
boy, we must protest — protest vehemently. We must 
thump the floor with our feet and sticks to show that 
we are bored and out of patience. Yawn, open your 
mouth till your jaws are dislocated, look about you — 
let all the neighbors see that we are people of taste, 
and utterly weary of this tiresome and monstrous 

No sooner said than done : we began thumping on 
the floor, and yawning in chorus, exclaiming : What a 
bore ! What a dreary piece ! What waste of money ! — 
and other phrases to the same effect ; all of which soon 
bore fruit. The party in the pit imitated our patriotic 
example with great exactitude. A general murmur 
of dissatisfaction was presently audible from every 
part of the theatre, for though the author had enemies 
he had no lack of friends scattered throughout the pit 
boxes and upper tiers, and they were not slow to pro- 
test against our demonstration, sometimes by applaud- 
ing, and then again by desiring us to be silent, with 
threats and swearing ; till a stentorian voice from the 
very back of the pit roared out "Turn the black- 
guards out!" raising a noisy storm of applause and 
reducing us to silence. 

Our poetaster was almost jumping out of his skin 
with indignation, and persisted in making his remarks 
as the piece went on. 

" Of course it is easy to see what will happen next : 
Dona Paquita does not care for the old man, but is in 
love with an officer who has not yet appeared and who 


is nephew to that rascal Don Diego. A pretty plot 
indeed! It seems hardly credible that a civilized 
nation should applaud it. I would sentence Moratin 
to the galleys and forbid his writing such coarse 
stuff, as long as he Hves ! — Do you call this a 
play, Gabrielito? There is no intrigue, no plot, no 
surprise, no catastrophe, no illusion, no quid pro quo ; 
no attempt at disguising any character to make it seem 
another — not even the little complication that comes 
of two men provpking each other as enemies and then 
discovering that they are father and son. — If Don 
Diego now were to catch his nephew and kill him out 
of hand in the cellar, and to prepare a banquet and 
have a dish of the victim's flesh served up to his bride, 
well disguised with spice and bay leaves — there would 
be some spirit in the thing. — And why does the girl 
dissemble ? Would it not be far more dramatic if she 
refused to marry the old man, if she defied him and 
called him a tyrant, or threatened to throw herself into 
the Danube or the Don if he dared lay hands on her ? 
Oh ! these new poets have no idea of inventing an en- 
gaging plot — nothing but these rigmarole stories with 
which they take in simpletons, telling them they are all 
according to rule. — Courage, boys ; all be ready now ! 
All break out in angry protest and pretend to be squab- 
bling, some saying that this play is worse than ^^ La 
Mogigata " and others that that was worse than this. 
Those of you who can do it give cat-calls ad lib, and 
stamping to match. When Dona Irene goes off call 
after her, any name that comes into your head." 


Again, said and done : in obedience to our captain's 
orders at the end of the first act we raised a terrific 
clamor. As the author's fiiends protested with cries of 
" Turn the rabble out !" the two factions, fired by the 
heat of the squabble, flung the most vituperative epi- 
thets at each other above the discordant yells of the 
gallery and the pit. The second act went off no more 
successfully than the first ; I, for my part, was listening 
to the dialogue, for to tell the truth — with all due 
respect to my friend the poet — the play seemed to me 
very good, though I could not have said even to my- 
self in what its beauty consisted : 

The determination with which Dona Irene insisted 
that her daughter should marry Don Diego because it 
suited her interests, and the stupidity with which she 
shut her eyes to the plainest evidence, believing her 
daughter to be sincere in her consent with no better 
guarantee than that she had been brought up by nuns; 
Don Diego's good sense in not feeling too confident of 
the issue and distrusting the young girl's affected sub- 
mission; the devoted courtesy of Don Carlos, the pranks 
of Calamocha — in short, every incident of the action, 
whether essential or merely accessory, captivated me, 
and at the same time I was vaguely conscious of an 
idea behind the plot, a moral purpose to which all the 
emotional impulses of the dramatis personae were sub- 
ordinate. However, I took good care to keep *my 
opinion to myself, for it would have been rank treason 
to the noble army of hissers; faithful to my flag, I 
never ceased repeating with braggart emphasis " What 


rubbish ! It is incredible how any one could have 
written it ! Here is the old woman again.— Well done 
old pantaloon ! — What dreary stuff!" etc., etc. 

The second act, like the first, came to an end amid 
much display of feeling on both sides ; still, it seemed 
to me that the author's supporters had the advantage 
over our party. It was easy to see that the impartial 
public liked the play, and that its success was secured 
in spite of the disgraceful cabal in which I played so 
prominent a part. The third act was beyond question 
even better than the other two ; I listened to it with 
religious respect, and combated my friend the poet's 
insolent remarks, for at the very best part of the 
comedy he thought proper to give utterance to his 
choicest nonsense. In this third act there are three 
scenes of the highest beauty: one in which Dona 
Paquita reveals to the good Don Diego the struggles 
between her heart and the duty laid upon her by a 
rash and hypocritical submission to a superior will; 
the second is where Don Carlos and Don Diego inter- 
vene, and thanks to their noble frankness the knot of 
the story is untied ; the third, a scene delightfully sus- 
tained between Don Diego and Doiia Irene, he only 
anxious to regard the subject of matrimony as finally 
disposed of, while she interrupts him at every word 
with importunate remarks. 

I could not, in fact, conceal my enjoyment of this 
scene, which to me seemed a masterpiece of nature, 
grace and interesting comedy ; the poet, however, called 
me to order, abusing me for deserting the hostile camp. 


" I beg your pardon," said I. " It was a mistake. 
And yet — does it not strike you, too, that this scene is 
not altogether bad ?" 

" How should you be able to judge ? — a mere 
novice, who never wrote a line in your life ! Pray 
what is there in this scene in the least remarkable, or 
pathetic, or historical ?" 

" But it is nature itself — I feel that I have seen in 
the real world just what the author has set on the 

'^ Gaby ! simpleton ! that is exactly what makes it 
so bad. Have you not observed that in * Frederic the 
second,' in * Catherine of Russia,' in * The slave of 
Negropont * and other fine works, nothing ever takes 
place that has the remotest resemblance to anything in 
real life? Is not everything in those plays strange, 
startling, exceptional, wonderful and surprising ? That is 
why they are so good. The poets of to-day do not 
choose to imitate those of my time and hence art has 
fallen to the lowest depths." 

" And yet, begging your pardon," I said, " I cannot 
help thinking. . . . The play is wretched, I quite agree, 
and when you say so there must be good reason for it. 
But the idea here seems to me a good one, since I 
fancy the author has intended to censure the vicious 
system of education which young girls get now-a-days 
— shut up in convents where they are taught untruth 
and concealment. — As Don Diego says in the play : 
they are supposed to be virtuous when they have 
learnt the arts of dissimulation and smother their real 


inclinations, and the mothers are quite content when 
the poor children are ready to perjure themselves with 
a * Yes ' which afterwards brings them to misery." 

" And who asks the. author to introduce all this 
philosophy ?" said the pedant. " What has the theatre 
to do with moralizing. In * the Magician of Astrak- 
han,' in * Leon and the Asturias gave heraldry to 
Spain ' and the * Triumphs of Don Pelayo * • — plays 
which all the world admires, did you ever find a pas- 
sage that discussed how girls are to be brought up ?" 

" I have certainly heard or read somewhere that 
the theatre was to serve the purposes of entertainment 
and instruction." 

" Stuff and nonsense ! — Besides, Senor Moratin 
wiD find himself in hot water if he takes to criticizing 
the education given by the nuns. He will have to 
settle that matter with their reverences the bishops and 
the Holy Inquisition. I thought of informing against 
this piece before that tribunal, and I will do it too, you 
may depend upon it." 

" But wait till the end," said 1, giving my attention 
to the scene in which Don Diego bids the lovers marry 
and blesses them with all the affection of a father. 

" What an insipid denouement ! At any rate it 
might have struck the dolt that Don Diego should now 
marry Dona Irene." 

" What ! Don Diego and Doiia Irene ? He is a 

*A Espana dieron blason las Asturias y Leon, y Triumfos de Don 


rational and serious man; how could he marry that 
old chatterbox ?" 

" What do you know about it, boy ?" exclaimed the 
old pedant quite exasperated. '^I say that the 
natural conclusion woiHd be for Don Diego to marry 
Dona Irene, Don Cdrios Paquita, and Rita to take 
Simon. That would be the regular ending; and it 
would be better still if the girl turned out to be Don 
Diego's natural child and Don Cdrlos the illegitimate 
son of Dona Irene and some king in disguise, or chief 
of the Caucasus, or of a knight of Malta condenmed 
to death. This would give much greater interest to 
the finish, particularly if one came on exclaiming: 
"My Father!" and the other "My Mother!" and 
then, after embracing each other, they got married, to 
become the psurents of a numerous and manly race." 

" Let us go, it is all over," said I, " The public 
seem to be weU pleased." 

" Now ! All together, bo3rs. Put your hands to 
your mouths. — The play is vile, intolerable !" 

The order was instantly obeyed; I myself, com- 
pelled by discipline, put my fingers in my mouth and 
— Shade of Moratin forgive ! — I need say no more ; 
the reader may guess at my ignominy and judge me. 

Our evil star, however, ruled that the greater por- 
tion of the public was in favor of the new comedy. 
Our hisses roused a storm of applause, not only from 
the company in the boxes but from the gallery and the 
women's seats. The judicious public, whose sound ar- 
tistic instinct understood the merits of the work, pro* 


tested against our crusade, and some of the most eager 
of our phalanx suddenly found themselves belabored 
with blows. What I beSt remember of the fray was 
the evil fate which befel our disciple of Apollo in the 
strife he had provoked. He wore a three-cornered 
cocked haty much too big for his head, and just as he 
was about to reply to the abuse of an antagonist, a 
powerful hand dropped like lead on the top of this ex> 
travagant head-piece and drove it down till the peaks 
rested on his shoulders. In this predicament the hap- 
less wretch stood for some minutes, gesticulating wildly 
and quite unable to free his head from the darkness in 
which it was buried. At last, and with great difficulty, 
his friends released him from his hat, foaming with fury 
and swearing to have immediate and bloody ven- 
geance. However, his rage went no further, for all the 
bystanders were laughing at him and he could find no 
one in particular on whom to be revenged. We got 
him into the street, where he presently cooled down 
and then we parted, under promise to meet again in 
the same place on the following day. 

Thus was "The Maidens* Yes" first performed. 
Although we were routed on this occasion we still 
hoped to wreck the piece on the second or third even- 
ing. It was known that Caballero, the minister in 
power, disapproved of it and had sworn to punish the 
writer, and this encouraged the hissing faction, who in 
fancy already saw Moratin in the clutches of the Holy 
Office, wearing the fooPs cap, in a penitent's frock and 
with a rope round his neck. But at the second per- 


formance the illusions of the most vehement anti- 
Moratinists fell to the ground; the Prince of Peace 
was at the play and his presence imposed silence on 
the clamorous ; no one dared make any demonstration 
of hostility. From this time the author of the piece, 
who was of course informed that the plot against him 
had been laid in my mistress's boudoir, broke off the 
slight acquaintance they had kept up, and La Gonza- 
lez repaid this infidelity with unqualified aversion. 


Having related this occurrence, which took place 
long before the events which form the subject of my 
narrative, I will return to my story, which treats of cer- 
tain events that happened in the autumn of 1807, a 
year famous in the annals of Madrid for the memorable 
conspiracy known as " the affair of the Escorial." 

But I will not write another line before introducing 
the reader to a personage who in those days filled a 
privileged position in my heart, being — as my tale will 
show — the living Manual of my daily life, since the 
education I derived fix)m knowing her contributed very 
greatly to the development of my character. 

All my mistress's dresses, for the stage or for every- 
day wear, were made by a needlewoman in the Calle de 
^anizares, a worthy and excellent Wbman, still young 


though worn by toil, and so reserved and well-man- 
nered that even under the evidences of present poverty 
it was easy to fancy that she was of superior birth and 
breeding. This, however, was only apparent; it was 
simply that in her was seen the converse of the com- 
moner case of persons nobly bom who bear no trace of 

Dona Juana — this was the good woman's name — 
had a daughter called In^s, now fifteen years old, who 
helped her in her work with greater efficiency than 
might have been expected from her fragile frame and 
tender years. This young girl was distinguished not 
only by the graces of her person, but for a spirit of 
good sense which I have never seen excelled in any 
other of her sex — nor indeed of my own and even 
with the experience of years. In^s had the particular 
faculty of setting everything in its right place, and of 
seeing them in a striking and clear light ; a gifl inher- 
ent in her exceptional understanding, and bestowed on 
her no doubt to compensate for the spite which denied 
her wealth. In the course of a long life I have never 
met with a young girl to compare with her, and I am 
sure that many will believe that she must be the crea- 
tion of my fancy, and be unable to understand that 
among all the daughters of Eve one should ever have 
been so unlike the rest. But they may take my word 
of honor for the fact. 

If my readers had known In6s, had seen the cloud- 
less serenity of her face — the image of the calmest and 
most equable mind, of the clearest and most self-con- 


trolled spirit that ever animated mortal clay — they 
would not for a moment doubt me. Everything about 
her bore the stamp of good sense, even her beauty — 
which was not such as to excite any vulgar enthusiasm, 
but rather resembled the symbolical images, with no 
suggestions of material charms, that we see with the 
eyes of the soul when the ideas seething in our mind 
struggle to assume a visible form in the dark regions of 
the brain. 

Her speech, too, was always sense itself : she never 
said anything which did not at once strike me as the 
simplest and fullest utterance of truth. Her reasoning 
always led me to a moderate and equitable view of 
things and lent my judgment a precision and serenity 
which it otherwise lacked. I may say, indeed, com- 
paring myself with In6s, that the radical difference 
between her mind and mine was that hers had a centre 
of gravity and mine had not. Mine wandered about, 
carried away by every var3dng impression, by sudden 
and contradictory impulses. My faculties were like 
erratic meteors which flash out suddenly and are as 
suddenly extinct, which go on their way or rush into 
collision in obedience to the influences of larger bodies ; 
while hers formed a complete and harmonious plane- 
tary system, attracted, moved and warmed by the 
bright sun of her pure conscience. 

Some will laugh no doubt at these psychological 

distinctions, which I only wish I could express as 

clearly as my dull mind feels them ; some indeed will 

— mock at the presentment of such a heroine and gasp 


with amazement at my attempting to make a radiant 
Beatrice out of the raw material of a little dressmaker. 
But their laughter moves me not : I proceed. 

From the moment I knew In6s I loved her in the 
strangest fashion you can conceive of. A strong at- 
traction drew my heart to her; but my devotion was 
the tribute we pay to unquestioned superiority -^ the 
faith which fills and exalts the noblest side of our 
nature though still leaving a part of it free for more 
earthly passions. Thus it was that, though to me In^s 
was the first of her s«t in the whole world, I believed 
I might love others with a sentiment appropriate in 
turn to each phase of my life. And I have observed 
that tho^e men who consecrate themselves to an ideal 
rarely do so with a whole heart ; they save a part of it 
for the world, to which they are bound if only by the 
common soil we all tread. I make this subtle observa- 
tion simply to account in some measure for the peculiar 
attitude of my mind with regard to so noble a woman. 
— And she was a dressmaker, a mere apprentice ! 
Well, laugh if you like. 

The third member of this worthy family was Father 
Celestino Santos del Malvar, brother of Dona Juana's 
deceased husband and uncle to In^s, a priest from his 
boyhood, the most simple and kindly of men, but the 
most luckless of his order. He had no income, no 
chaplaincy nor benefice of any kind. His modesty, 
honesty, and perfect guilelessness had no doubt a share 
in keeping him so long in poverty ; though he was a 
fine Latinist he had never been able to obtain any post 


or employment. He spent his time in addressing pe- 
titions to the Prince of Peace, whose fellow-country- 
man he was, and whom he had indeed known well 
in their childhood; but neither the Prince of Peace 
nor any one else paid any heed. When Godoy had 
risen to his eminence he had promised him a canonry 
or a" prebend, apd at the time of which I speak Don 
Celestino del Malvar had been, for fourteen years, 
hoping for the fulfilment of this promise; but this 
delay had in no degree diminished his simple trustful- 
ness. Whenever he was questioned about it he would 
answer: "I shall get the appointment next week. 
The Secretary's clerk »told me so." And thus fourteen 
years had come and gone, but " next week " had never 

Whenever I went to the house on some errand 
from my mistress I stayed as long as I could, and I 
ran off there in all my leisure moments, thoroughly en- 
joying the sight of this tranquil home and the society 
of a family each of whom had aroused my heart to 
such deep feeling. Doiia Juana and her daughter were 
always sewing — sewing, with an untiring needle at 
never-ending material. By this they all three lived, for 
Father Celestino — playing the flute, composing Latin 
verses, or wasting paper and ink in copious petitions, 
earned nothing but hopes, which gathered at com- 
pound interest. Our talk was always friendly and in- 
teresting. I told them my little history and often 
made them laugh by telling them of my various 
schemes for rising in the world. We used to laugh, too, 


in secret and quite without malice over Don Celestino*s 
innocent faith ; he, after going to enquire as to how his 
affairs were progressing, would come home in high 
spirits, throw his curly-brimmed hat and his long cloak 
into a chair, and rubbing his hands as he sat down 
would say : 

" This time there is no doubt. Next week without 
fail. There have been some little delays, but they are 
now got over thank God ! Next week without fail." 

One day I said to him : 

" Don Celestino, you have not succde'ded in getting 
what you want because you are too naodest, and do 
not laimch yourself, and — well you do hot push your- 

"What do yoii mean, my boy — push myself?" 

" Well — they tell me that now-a-days if you want 
an inch you must ask for an ell. Besides — ..merit may 
go to the Devil; all that is needed is audacity to put 
oneself forward on all occasions, and make friends with 
influential persons ; in short, to do what others have 
done to rise to the positions which they fill to the ad- 
miration of the world." 

" Ah, Gabriel !" said Doiia Juana, " you are an am- 
bitious lad, and some one has been turning your head 
for you. The least you look for is that by some magic 
you should find yourself at Court covered with gold 
lace and giving your orders as Secretary of State." 

" Exactly so, Seiiora," said I laughing, and watch- 
ing the expression of In^s* face, for we had often dis- 



cussed the subject before. " Though I am alone in the 
world, with neither father nor mother, nor even a dog 
to bark at me, I do not see why I should not hope for 
as much as others have had without being any more 
learned than I am/' 

" You are a youth of promise, Gabriel," said Don 
Celestino gravely, " and I should not wonder any day 
if we saw you become a great man. Then you will not 
condescend to speak to us or to come to our house; 
nevertheless, my son, you must positively study the 
Latin classics, for if you do not, none of the doors of 
Fortune will open for you ; and besides that I advise 
you to learn to play the flute, for music is a humaniz- 
ing element, adding grace to good manners, sweetening 
the sourest natures, and predisposing them to kindness 
towards those who are skilled in' it. At any ratei you 
may take my word for it that I certainly should never 
have succeeded in anything if I had not, in my youth, 
cultivated those two divine arts." 

" The warning shall not fall into a leaky vessel," 
said I. " We all know to what the most powerful man 
in Spain, next to the king, owes his eminence." 

" It is a calunmy !" exclaimed the priest indig- 
nantly. " My fellow-countryman, my Maecenas, his 
highness the Prince of Peace, owes his elevation to 
his merits — to his political tact and acumen, and not 
to his supposed skill on the guitar and with the casta- 
nets, as the stupid public assert." 

" Be that as it may," I went on, " the fact remains 
that this man has risen from the humblest rank to the 


topmost height that can be reached. That is perfectly 

** And you, no doubt, will do as much," said Dona 
Juana. ironically. ** Bishops are made of men, as the 
sajring goes." 

" Quite true," said I, carrying on the jest. " And I 
solemnly swear to make Don Celestino archbishop of 

" Nay, nay," said the priest quite seriously. " I 
could not accept a position for which I know I am not 
qualified. I shall be quite satisfied with a chaplaincy 
at Reyes Nuevos, or the archdeaconry of Talavera." 

And so we talked, half in earnest and half in jest, 
till presently Dona Juana and the priest left the room, 
and In^s and I were alone. 

" How they laugh at my schemes, little one," said 
I. " But you must understand that a yoimg fellow 
like me ought not to be content to remain an actress's 
servant all his life. Let us see: of all the things I 
might become, God willing, which do you like best ? 
Now choose; would you rather that I should be 
captain-general, or a prince with a coronet and vassals 
and an army, or the owner of great estates, or a prime 
minister giving and withdrawing appointments as he 
pleases, or a bishop ? — no, not a bishop, because then 
I could not marry you and take you about in a car- 
riage with twelve horses. . . ." 

In6s began to laugh, as if she were listening to a 
tale of which the point lay in its absurdity. 


" Laugh by all means, but answer : Which do you 
like best ?" 

" What I should like," she said gently as she paused 
in her sewing, "would be to see you either general, 
prime minister, grand duke, emperor, or archbishop — 
but whichever it might be that still, when you lay 
down at night on your feather bed, you should be able 
to say : * I have done no one any ill this day, and no 
one has suffered by my act." 

" But, my little queen," said I, more and more in- 
terested in the discussion, " if I ever become either of 
these things — and it is quite possible — what can it 
matter if three or four of our fellow-creatures for whom 
no one in this world cares should die for me or for the 
good of the State ?" 

" Well and good," said she, " but let others cause 
their death. If you rise in the world as you have de- 
scribed, and then have to sacrifice a number of hapless 
mortals to secure you in a place you do not deserve, 
much good it will do you !" 

" How scrupulous you are Inesilla F If I list«ied 
to you I might spend my life shut up between four 
walls. What do you mean by sacrificing hapless 
beings ? I go about my business, and other folks — 
I do not have to kill anybody. And after all, if I 
should injure some, those who will receive benefits at 
my hands will be so many that there will be ample 
compensation, and my conscience will enjoy holy 
peace. — But I see you are not enthusiastic as I am, 


and do not think as I do. Shall I be quite frank with 



you ? Then listen. — I have taken it into my head 
that when I am a little older I shall fill some position 

— how can I tell what ? — And I worry myself with 
thinking of it I cannot tell you either how I am to 
rise to it, nor who it is that will lend a hand to help 
me up the long ladder at one leap ; but I puzzle my- 
self with thinking of it and fancy I see myself already 
raised to the highest dignity — by some influential 
lady who makes me her secretary, or by some young 
man who finds me clever in helping him in his affairs. 

— Do not be angry, sweetheart, for when such things 
occur to one and the same thoughts fill one's brain 
night and day, some of them must come out at last, 
as they have done now." 

Ines was not angry, she only laughed. Then, em- 
phasizing her sentences with her needle, she went on : 

" Look here — if you had been bom a prince I 
should see no objection ; but you must know that if 
you — a poor fisherman's son, who have no more 
learning than serves you to read badly and write worse 

— if you ever soar to be a man of rank and power, 
not by reason of your talents and wisdom but because 
some capricious woman or rich old idiot takes a fancy 
to you, like many others of whom we hear such won- 
ders — you must know, I say, that you will fall as 
rapidly as you will rise, and every blockhead will 
laugh you to scorn." 

" That will be as God rules it," said I. "We shall 
fall or not as may be, for ignorant as we are we shall 
still have the use of our faculties." 


" How silly you are ! Listen. I have been told — 
no, no one told me but I know : in the world, first and 
last, things always happen as they ought to happen." 

" My little queen," said I, " you are mistaken, for 
we ought to be rich, and we are not." 

" Everybody thinks that, my dear, and some are 
mistaken. — Well then everything ends as it ought to 
end. I do not know whether I make it clear." 

" Yes ; I quite understand." 

"I have been told — but no, no one told me, I 
have known it this thousand years — I know that 
everything in the world happens according to law. 
You see, child, things do not happen because they 
choose it, but because they are made so. Birds fly and 
worms creep, stones lie still, the sun shines, and flowers 
smell, rivers flow downhill and smoke rises, because it 
is the law of nature. — Do you understand ?" 

'< But we all know that," said I somewhat scorning 
Ines' science. 

" Well, boy," the profesara went on : " Then do 
you believe that a tortoise can fly, when you see it 
pass all its life on its clumsy feet ?" 

" No, of course not." 

" Well, you, with your dreams of being great and 
powerful though you are neither noble, nor rich, nor 
learned, are like a tortoise who should try to fly to the 
top of a mountain higher than Guadarrama." 

" But my queen and empress," said I, " I do not 
dream of rising by myself; I think that I, like others 
—^ know of, may find some one to carry me up in a 


baUoon. Be so good as to tell me where were that 
one's* riches and learning when he was made general- 
issimo and duke." 

" But, most noble duke," she said laughing, " sup- 
posing some such personage should carry you up — it 
would be as though an eagle or a vulture had taken 
the tortoise by his shell and lifted him into the air. 
You will go up — no doubt; but when you are fairly 
up the bird will not want to carry such a weight all his 
life, and he will say to you: *Now, my friend, you 
must keep yourself up.' You will kick and struggle, 
but as you have no wings — plump! Down you will 
come to the ground smashed into a thousand pieces." 

"How absurd you are!" I exclaimed crossly. 
" This is what happens to real things that we see and 
touch ; but the things we fancy and feel, child, are a 
world apart. What connection is there between them?" 

" You are lucid, indeed," replied ln6s, " It must 
.be just the same in all things. If you love or if you 
hate a person -it is not because you wish it. — No, 
boy! The heart, too, has its — well, its laws, and all 
we conceive of in our brains is ordained and sent to us." 

" But tell me, sweetheart : where did you learn all 
this ?" I asked her. 

" What is there to learn ?" she answered simply. 
" You know it, too ; every one knows it. In fact, it 
came to me while I was speaking; I have never 
thought about such things." 

• Ei otrv. Godoy, Prince of Peace. 


" You little rogue ! But at any rate you must have 
a hidden store of books by which you hope to get 
yourself made a Doctor of Salamanca." 

" No, I have not read many books besides my 
prayer books and Don Quixote de la Mancha. — Do 
you know ? what will happen to you will be something 
like what happened to that worthy gentleman; only 
he, to be sure, had wings to fly with, poor fellow ! All 
he wanted was air to move them in." 

Inesilla said no more. I, too, was silent ; for, al- 
though I was vexed I could not help perceiving that 
my little friend's words were full of sound sense. And 
the girl who could speak thus was a dressmaker — a 
mere apprentice! i?/^i5?/?^r;z;^j." 

"All I know," said I at length, under a strong 
glow of feeling, "is that I love you — I worship you. 
You command and govern me as if I were a helpless 
idiot ; you are my oracle and I swear never to do any- 
thing without consulting you. Now good-bye, my 
queen. To-morrow I will tell you what comes into 
my head to-night. Who knows — who can tell 

whether I may not rise to be Why not ? The thing 

is to be always ready, for the ladder to honor is a steep 
one and if I break my neck, as you say. . . ." 

"There is still the ladder to Heaven to climb," 
said she bending over her sewing again. 

" You say things that make me shiver. Good-bye, 
Inesilla, my light and my mind !" 

I took leave and went out. As I quitted the 
bouse I heard her singing, and her harmonious voice 


mingled in strange discord with the echoes of the flute 
Don Celestino was fingering in his own room. Al- 
ways, as I quitted that house, my spirit was conscious 
of a peace, an equableness — I know not how to ex- 
press it — a refi-eshment, which soon disappeared at 
the contact of another set of people. Of this I shall 
have more to say presently; but first of all I must 
admit that In^s was quite right in laughing at my 
crazy schemes. The fact was that, as I was constantly 
hearing of persons of no merit whatever raised by 
Court favor to the highest eminence, I had chosen to 
imagine that Providence, as a compensation for my or- 
phaned and destitute condition, had in store for me 
one of those sudden and scandalous turns of fortune 
which occasionally happen in Spain; and this notion 
had got so fixed in my head that at last it was an 
article of faith. I was just at the age, too, at which we 
are most foolish; and we have not all the gift, like 
In^s, of knowing things "these thousand years." 

I will now relate the series of events which raised 
my senseless belief to the highest pitch. But to this 
end I must introduce the reader to some other person- 
ages in whom I hope to interest him. And first I must 
return to the theatre. 



The theatre del Principe had been rebuilt in 1807 
by Villanueva, and a company under Maiquez was 
now playing there, alternately with the opera company 
imder the famous Manuel Garcia. My mistress and 
an actress named La Prado were the leading ladies of 
Maiquez's troupe. The secondary performers were not 
good for much, for the great Isidoro, whose vanity was 
as great as his talents, would not allow any one else to 
shine on the boards on which he displayed his suprem- 
acy, and would never take the trouble to instruct 
others in the secrets of his art, fearing lest they should 
succeed in excelling him. Consequently all who sur- 
rounded th^ great actor were of mediocre merit. La 
Prado, Isidoro Maiquez's wife, took the leading female 
parts turns about with my mistress, playing Clytemnes- 
tra in Orestes^ Estrella in Sancho Ortiz de las RoelaSy 
and others. Pepa Gonzalez was famous as Dofia 
Blanca in Garcia del Castanary and as Edelmira (Des- 
d6mona) in Otello 

The opera company was a remarkably good one. 
Besides Manuel Garcfa, who was a great master of his 
art, his wife, Manuela Morales was a singer ; there was 
an Italian named Cristiani, and La Briones. This 
woman, Garcfa's mistress, became the mother, a year 


later, of that paragon and queen of operatic singers 
Mariquita Felicidad Garcia, better known as Malibran. 

My readers may imagine whether I was happy, 
seeing a play and hearing music every evening, and 
admitted gratis — though to be sure to a part of the 
house where much of the illusion is lost — to the best 
and most fashionable performances given in Madrid; 
on familiar terms with the prettiest actresses, and 
with men who could make the whole Court circle 
laugh or weep. Nor are you to suppose that I only 
came into contact with actors — a class who at that 
time were not regarded as the cream of society; on the 
contrary, I was often in the midst of a company of 
very distinguished people who htmg about the green- 
room, including many a lady as fair as she was proud, 
but who did not therefore disdain to soil her skirts with 
the dust behind the scenes. 

However, I am about to divulge on what terms 
of intimacy my mistress lived with certain of the ladies 
of the Court, and as their names were among the 
noblest and oldest which have graced our historical 
archives, I shall take care to conceal them lest I 
should give displeasure to the families which still bear 
them. Their titles, which I remember perfectly, shall 
not appear on these pages ; in speaking of those two 
noble ladies I will designate them by conventional 

I recollect having seen at that time a pretty piece 
of tapestry at the factory of Santa Bdrbara, representing 
two bewitching shepherdesses. When I asked who 


the two fair nymphs might be, I was told : " They are 
the daughters of Artemidorus : Lesbia and Amaranta." 
These names are made as it were on purpose for me, 
gentle reader. Bear in mind that when I speak of 
Lesbia I refer to the Duchess of X and by Amaranta 
I mean the Countess of Z. In this way I do not re- 
veal the noble style and titles of those two divinities of 
my young days. 

As to their beauty, all that my colorless pen could 
do would fail to describe it ; they were both enchant- 
ing, especially the Countess of — Amaranta I mean. 
Both had an elegant taste in the arts, encouraged 
painters, applauded and did honor to actors, extended 
their patronage to the first performances of the works 
of any destitute author, collected tapestry, vases, and 
snuff boxes, introduced and displayed all that was best 
from Paris the despotic, were carried out in elegant 
chairs, took luncheon with Goya in el Canal and spoke 
with regret of the tragical end of Pepe Hillo in 1803. 

Thus it is not astonishing that their way of life, and 
the insatiable thirst for novelty and excitement which 
ruled them, should have led them into a tangle of such 
adventures as I am about to relate. The poor things 
knew nothing better, and considering that they had 
lost what little an old-fashioned Spanish education 
might have given them without acquiring anything to 
fill its place, we cannot judge them very harshly. 
Some perhaps will condemn them and not without 
reason on other grounds, but still they were in truth — 
^harming creatures. 


One evening my mistress came home from the 
theatre in a very bad humor. Isidoro had found fault 
with her for I know not what ; and I may take this 
opportunity of mentioning that the great actor treated 
his subordinates as if they were school children. As 
she came in Pepita said to me: "Get everything 
ready — the ladies Lesbia and Amaranta are coming 
to supper." 

Getting everything ready consisted in dusting the 
drawing-room furniture a little, so that the dust should 
settle on something else; in pouring oil into the 
lamps ; in buying a string for the guitar if necessary ; 
in calling in Don Higinio to tune the harpsichord ; in 
cleaning the branched candlesticks, going for a fresh 
supply of MarSchale powder, and so forth. As far as 
the supper was concerned, it came ready prepared 
from a restaurant. I fulfilled all these various errands 
and begged for further orders; but my mistress was 
out of temper, and without paying any heed to what I 
said she asked me : 

. " Did he not tell you whether he was coming this 
evening ?" 

« Who ?" 

" Isidoro." 

" No, Senora, he said nothing to me." 

" As I saw him speaking to you after the perform- 
ance. . . ." 

" It was only to tell me that if he found me again 
among the side scenes during the performance he 
would have me flayed alive." 


" What a temper ! — I asked him to come and he 
did not answer." 

Then she said no more, but withdrew to her own 
room, gloomy and grave, and called her maid to 
change her dress. I went on with my preparations and 
in due time my mistress reappeared. 

" What o'clock is it ?" she asked. 

" The clock of the Trinidad has just struck nine." 

" I thought I heard a noise at the door," she said 
Tery anxiously. 

", No, Madame, you are mistaken." 

" So he did not say in so many words whether he 
would come or no." 

" Who ? Isidoro ? No, Senora." 

" How can he have such a temper — You see, he 
was worried this evening. Nevertheless, I believe he 
will come. I invited him yesterday, and though he did 
not say a word — but that is his way." 

As she spoke her face wore a look of uneasiness, 
agitation and anxiety which betrayed the stormy emo- 
tions of her mind. What could give rise to this desire 
for Isidoro's presence — a man she saw at the theatre 
every day of her life ? — Then she went round the 
room to see that nothing was wanting, and seated her- 
self to await the arrival of her visitors. At last we 
heard the street door open and a man's step was aud- 
ible on the stairs. 

'< It is he !" she said, starting up and crossing the 
room with a scared face. I ran to open the door and 


a moment after the great actor entered the drawing- 

Isidoro was then a man of eight and thirty, tall, in- 
dolent in his movements, with a pale face and with so 
marked an expression in his features and his look that 
haviQg once seen them nothing could efface them from 
the memory. This evening he wore a very dark green 
coat, with buckskin breeches and high Polish boots — 
all made with the highest elegance, and which he wore 
with more grace than any other man. His style of 
dress wa$ peculiar and personal ; it was in itself a kind 
of modishness, yet it could not be said that he sub- 
mitted like a pliant dandy to the whims of fashion. 
Indeed such a defiance of it would have been ridicu- 
lous in any one else, but in him this defiance merely 
meant adaptation, or the creation of a new one. 

I will make you acquainted with him presently as 
an actor. For the present you must learn a few traits 
of his character as a man. As he came in he threw 
himself into a chair, without any further ceremony or 
greeting than one of the familiar and indifferent 
speeches which are common between people who are 
accustomed to meet constantly. He sat for some time 
in silence, hunmiing an air, staring at the ceiling and 
walls, and never ceasing to dust his boots with his 

I presently left the room to fetch something, and as 
I came back I heard Isidoro saying : 

" How badly you acted this evening Pepilla V* and 
I noticed that my mistress looked as frightened as a 


girl before an irate schoolmaster, and could only reply 
to this rough reprimand in broken sentences. " Yes," 
Isidoro went on, " for some time past I have hardly 
known you for yourself. This evening all our friends 
have complained of you and found you cold and dull. 
— You constantly made mistakes, too, and seemed so 
absent-minded that I was obliged to call your atten- 
tion and rouse you from your reverie." 

It was true ; to judge from what I had heard be- 
hind the scenes that evening my mistress had been 
particularly unsuccessful in the part of Blanca, in Gar- 
cia del Castanar, All her friends were amazed, remem- 
bering with what perfection the actress had, on former 
occasions, filled that arduous part 

"Well, I do not know," she replied in anxious 
tones. " I thought I had acted this evening much the 
same as usual." 

" In some of the scenes, yes ; but those in which 
you acted with me were wretchedly poor. You 
seemed to have forgotten your part, or to be playing 
against the grain. In the scenes of our exit you re- 
peated your verses like a strolling player. When you 
said to me : 

* The flowers thirst no longer for the dew 
Drank by the sun from out their fragrant cups.' 

Your voice shook as though it were your first appear- 
ance on the boards ; you gave me your hand and I felt 
it burning as if you were in a fever; you hesitated and 


made mistakes, and did not seem to be conscious of 
my presence there at all." 

" Oh no ! I will tell you exactly : it was just the 
dread of doing it badly. I was so afraid of vexing 
you, and you scold us so violently when we make a 
.mistake. ..." 

" Well you must do better than that if you want to 
remain in my company. — Are you ill ?" 

« No." 

" Or in love ?" 

" No — no, certainly not," answered the actress, 
much disturbed. 

" I venture to bet that it was because you were 
watching some one in the boxes too attentively that 
you could not remember your lines." 

" No, Isidoro, you are quite wrong," said Pepita 
affecting gaiety. 

"The odd thing is that in the following scenes, 
particularly in that with Don Mendo, you acted your 
part perfectly; but then, in the third act, when you 
had to act with me again, you were as bad as ever." 

" Did I say the speech in the wood badly ?" 

" On the contrary, you repeated the lines with good 
effect : 

Whither, breathless, am I flying, 
Weary, aimless, on no hope relying; 
Lonely in this forest gloom ? — 
Weep my eyes, bewail my hapless doom.' 


In the scene with the queen, too, you were as admira- 
ble as in the dialogue with Don Mendo. How ex- 
pressively you exclaimed * I have a husband !' and then 
the passage : 

* Say no more — 
Be he of base or noble birth •— 
The humblest husband on this earth 
Is better than a paramour ! * 

But as soon as I went on and you saw me. ..." 

" That is what I tell you. My fear of doing badly 
and. annoying you. ..." 

"Well, you certainly did annoy me. When you 
had to say : * My husband, Garcfa !* I could have given 
you a slap then and there, in the face of the public. 
You Marmot ! Have I not told you a hundred times 
how you ought to speak those words ? Can you not 
understand the situation? Blanca is afraid that her 
husband suspects her virtue. The joy she feels at see- 
ing him and the dread lest he should doubt her inno- 
cence must both be expressed in those three words. 
Now you, instead of rendering these feelings turn to 
me like a lovesick milliner meeting unexpectedly with 
her counter-jumper lover. Then when you implored 
me to kill you, you did so with no touch of what we 
call tragic dignity. You behaved as though you really 
hoped to die by my hands, and even went on your 
knees to me, though I have told you in so many words 
never to do such a thing excepting at certain passages 


where T desire it. You made more than twenty mis- 
takes in the ten lines beginning : 

* Heaven preserve thee, Garcia ;' 

And when I said : 

* Alas ! beloved wife, 
What contrary extremes ! * 

you threw yourself into my arms before I gave you the 
cue, while I, still thinking only of the insult I had re- 
ceived, could not give myself up to love-making. You 
spoilt the conclusion, Pepilla. You damaged the play, 
and you damaged me." 

" I cannot possibly do you any harm now." 
"Well, you saw that I was not applauded this 
evening as I generally have been. And it is all your 
fault ; yes, yours, by your stupidity and folly. You pay 
no heed to my teaching, you take no pains to please 
me, and at last you will compel me to deprive you of 
your position in my company and put you on half 
salary or small allowances, if indeed your carelessness 
does not reduce me to dismissing you from the the- 

" Oh Isidoro !" cried my mistress. " I always try 
to do my best not to vex you and get scolded ; but I 
am so dreadfully afraid of your reprimanding me that I 
stand trembling on the stage as soon as you appear. — 
Will you believe one thing ? Well, when we are act- 
ing together I even am afraid of doing too well, be- 


cause when I am much applauded I feel as if I were 
taking to myself part of the triumph which is due to 
you only and that you will be justly angry if they clap 
any one but you. This fear, added to my terror when 
you threaten me by signs or correct me crossly, makes 
me tremble and hesitate, and sometimes I do not know 
what I am saying. But do not doubt but that I will 
improve. You shall not have to turn me out of the 

1 did not hear what more was said as I had to 
leave the room with a lamp that was smoking, and 
when I returned the conversation had taken another 
turn. Isidoro was still stretched at full length in an 
easy chair and evidently excessively bored. 

" Why do not your guests arrive ?" he asked. 

" It is early yet. . I see you find my company dull," 
replied Pepita. 

<< No. But there has been nothing amusing in the 
entertainment so far." He took out a cigar and began 
to smoke. I ought to mention that the famous actor 
did not take out his snuff-box like almost all the great 
men of his time — Talleyrand, Mettemich, Rossini, 
Moratin, and even Napoleon, who indeed, if history is 
to be believed, in order to shorten the ceremony of 
taking out and opening his snuff-box simply kept the 
fragrant powder in his waistcoat pocket which was 
lined with oil silk, and who, while commanding the 
regiments at Jena or sitting at the conference of Tilsit, 
incessantly kept his finger and thumb in this pocket 
and lifted them to his nose every minute. Owing to 


this singular habit it is said that the buff waistcoat and 
lapels which buttoned over the proudest heart of his 
time were among the dirtiest objects to be foimd 
throughout Europe. 

Farinelli, too, would stuff his nostrils between the 
airs of an oratorio ; and I gather from certain antique 
documents that I have seen that no better gift could be 
offered by a lady or an enthusiastic admirer to a mu- 
sician, a painter, or an Italian singer than half a hun- 
dred-weight of snuff. The Abb^ Metastasio, Rafael 
Mengs, Montagnana, the tenor, Pariggi — the soprano, 
and Alai, the violin player, used the finest tobacco im- 
ported in the king's ships. 

Pardon this digression and regard it as certain that 
Isidoro did not take snuff. 


It was ten o'clock when the ladies of whom I have 
already spoken arrived in state. Ah, Lesbia! and 
Amaranta ! — Who that ever saw you can forget you ? 
I need not say that they came incognito in their car- 
riages and not in chairs, in which the indiscreet vulgar 
could easily have recognized them. The poor ladies 
greatly enjoyed these little confidential meetings where 
their spirits, crushed by court etiquette, could find re- 
laxation. For you must know that in strictly formal 
meetings, whether at home or at the Palace where the 


laws of caste held despotic rule, nothing ever occurred 
that was not calculated to produce dignified tedium. 
No one chatted — much less laughed. The ladies sat 
at the upper end of the room, the gentlemen occupied 
the rest of it, and the conversation was as insipid as 
the refreshments. If any one could play the harpsi- 
chord or the guitar the party was a little more lively 
for a while, but soon relapsed into the most soporific 
propriety. Perhaps a minuet was danced, and a pair 
of lovers might enjoy the platonic or ideal delights of 
touching each other's finger-tips; then, after much 
bowing and curtseying to the accompaniment of the 
music. Propriety was again supreme — a divinity 
closely akin to silence. 

It is therefore not Surprising that some ladies of 
lively imagination sought in less severe society some 
entertainment more suited to their natural tastes ; and 
this again reminds me of the play " A Maiden's Yes," 
which, while satirizing hypocrisy in education, censures 
hypocrisy in general and in every phase of our traditional 
customs. At that time there was a generally prevail- 
ing tendency towards the introduction of rather more 
liberty, of more simple and wholesome relations be- 
tween the sexes without any diminution of due respect, 
of a mode of life in short which should be based rather 
on a belief in human goodness than on the conceal- 
ment of evil, and which should not regard society as 
founded on suspicion or sin as a foregone conclusion. 
In fact, at that time hypocrisy was widely spread. 
Though evil was not publicly seen it had not ceased to 


be, and though our manners were less frank and free 
our morals were none the purer. 

Lesbia and Amaranta came in bowing, with be- 
witching greetings which betrayed the good spirits they 
were in; with them came Amaranta's uncle, an old 
Marquis of diplomatic experience ; but before describ- 
ing what he was I must give some account of the ladies. 

The Duchess of X. — Lesbia — was a delicate and 
almost infantine beauty, one of those which, like the 
flowers to which they are often poetically compared, 
seem as though they would fade under too rude a 
breeze or too fierce a sim, or perish at the outbreak of 
the slightest storm; those which had raged in Lesbians 
heart had, hitherto, at any rate done no damage to her 
beauty. She looked as if she had only yesterday left 
the care of the good Sisters of Chamartin de la Rosa 
and could still talk of nothing but the convent sweet- 
meats, the ants in the garden, the rules of Saint Bene- 
dict and the kindness of Mother Circumcision.* But 
how quickly such ideas were dissipated when the fair 
rogue began to talk ! A large part of her discourse was 
sheer laughter; she laughed so often, and with such 
discretion and firankness, that no one could be dismal 
in her company. She was fresh-colored ; not very tall 
and as hght and brisk as a bird. Everything about 
her betrayed a happy spirit and self-satisfaction; her 
nature was at once wilful and gladsome, and no caprice 
but her own could control it. Those who attempted it 

* Circumcision, Conception and other such names are adopted 
by nuns on taking the veil. 


would begin by vexing her, and to vex her was the ruin 
of her, destroying half her charm. One of the gifts 
which made Lesbia such delightful company was her 
skill in declamation. She was a consummate actress ; 
and, as I afterwards knew, her marvellous talent for 
the stage did not confine itself to the narrow limits of 
private theatricals but had a far wider range, being 
brought into play in every action of her daily life. 
Whenever a theatrical entertainment was given at the 
house of any one attached to the Court she took the 
principal part, and afthis particular time Maiquez was 
teaching her the part of Edelmira in Othello, which 
was to be performed in the private theatre of a certain 
Marchioness. Isidore and my mistress were also en- 
gaged to play on this occasion, and it was to be one of 
great splendor. 

Lesbia was married. Three years since, when she 
was scarcely nineteen, she had been married to a Duke 
who spent all his time in hunting, like another Nimrod, 
over his vast estates ; he came now and then to Madrid 
to ask his wife's forgiveness for his long absence and 
swear that his sole object in living away from her was 
to avoid offending her. Though I never was told so I 
feel sure that Lesbia would upbraid him in her sweet 
little voice, but take good care not to put her com- 
plaints into a form that might induce the Duke to 
change his mode of life. 

Amaranta was the very opposite of Lesbia. Lesbia 
was charming; Amaranta fired you with enthusiasm. 
Lesbians gentle and graceful loveliness made all who 


looked on her happy for the moment; Amaranta*s 
' ideal and stately beauty roused a strange emotion akin 
to sadness. Thinking this over since, I came to the 
conclusion that the singular amazement we feel in the 
presence of one of these rare paragons of human 
beauty arises from the sense of our own inferiority, or 
the remoteness of all hope of ever possessing the re- 
gard of a being whose loveliness must command the 
devotion of such numberless adorers. 

Of all the women I have ever seen I cannot re^ 
member one whose face was so fascinatingly attractive ; 
I have never been able to forget it, and whenever my 
mind turns to the contemplation of what is most perfect 
and admirable among the works of nature alone, I see 
her face and form as their prototype, and the unques- 
tioned standard of comparison. 

Amaranta may have been thirty. The glory of 
giving birth to this pearl among women was thine, An- 
^ dalusia, and more particularly thine, Tarifa — the 
land's end of Spain, a remote comer of Europe where 
the flower of Spanish grace and beauty took refuge in 
its flight from foreign invasion. 

From what I have said you may have formed some 
idea of the appearance of the incomparable Countess of 
Z., alias Amaranta, and I need not go into details 
which you can easily imagine — such as her stately 
height, the whiteness of her complexion, the exquisite 
form of every feature, the expression of her sweet and 
pathetic eyes, the jet-black of her hair, and the rest of 
*\^ that indefinable perfection which I do not describe be- 


cause I know not how to express it; characteristics 
which the intelligent reader will understand and feel, 
but of which he ought not to require the details if he 
does not wish to see the charm of these intangible 
graces lost in the crucible of style which sometimes 
distorts by its contact. 

I have no precise recollection of her dress. As I 
recall Amaranta I see the flowing black lace of a large 
mantilla secured by the teeth of a magnificent comb 
and showing through its folds and interstices gleams of 
crimson satin vanishing on the shoulders and round the 
sleeves under the black fussiness of more lace, epaul- 
ettes, and braiding. The skirt was of the same red 
satin, narrow and short as fashion required, so as to re- 
veal the beautiful figure it covered. Below the knees 
more flouncings of black lace to where the bottom of 
the dress edged with rich and heavy braiding, allowing 
the shoes to be seen, whose restless tips peeped out and 
vanished again like some delightful little animals play- 
ing under the petticoat. This little movement became 
is it were a language when Amaranta joined in the 
conversation, adding the charms of speech to her other 
fascinations, and supplementing the eloquence of her 
person generally by that of her fan. 

So far as to the Countess. Returning to Lesbia, if 
you wish to know what she wore she seemed to me en- 
tirely blue. Picture her to yourself in a white mantilla 
and a blue petticoat edged with black lace: and 
though I cannot be certain that she was dressed so, it 
is highly probable that she may have been. 


I had seen these two fair ladies at my, mistress's on 
three occasions before the evening of which I speak» 
I had quite understood that they were both deeply in- 
volved in court intrigue, though they allowed but littie 
of this to come out at the stolen evenings at our house. 
Sometimes, however, they would dispute with such 
high words and such ill-concealed virulence that I sus- 
pected that they were not onf the best terms. Also 
they occasionally alluded to public affairs, or some per- 
sonage of the Royal Family ; but in these cases the 
subject was invariably started by the Marquis, Ama- 
ranta's uncle, an individual who could never be easy 
without constantly putting himself forward and re- 
ferring, in season and out of season, to diplomatic 
transactions in which he believed himself to be^very 

On the occasion of which I write this celebrated 
uncle was again present ; indeed I might say that he 
always seemed tied to his niece's apron string, for 
wherever she went he went, too, as her page at church, 
her escort at walking, and her companion at every 
ball. — I forget whether I have already mentioned 
that Amaranta was a widow. 

The Marquis — I do not name him for the same 
reasons that led me to disguise the ladies — was an old 
man, more than sixty years of age, who had filled 
various diplomatic posts. Raised to office by Florida- 
blanca, encouraged by Aranda and turned off at last by 
Godoy, he cherished a rancorous hatred of the Prince 
of Peace, and consequently all his interminable dis- 


sertations turned on the burning question of the fall of 
the favorite. He was vain, pompous and empty, had 
a high idea of himself, and believed himself destined to 
fill the highest parts. As to his grandiloquence, which 
was on a par with the real weakness of his brain, it was 
the theme of endless jesting among his friends. Wher- 
ever he was to be seen he was also to be heard, saying : 
•*' What will Russia do ? Will Austria support such an 
atrocious scheme ? A tremendous disaster is hanging 
over us 1 Alas for the powers of Southern Europe !" — 
and other no less mysterious cries by which he hoped 
to give himself importance. He always took care to 
maintain a studied reserve and utter himself in half- 
sentences, never expressing himself clearly on any sub- 
ject, so that his hearers in their doubt and darkness 
should question him and insist on his being more ex- 

I have given these details that my readers may im- 
derstand the kind of scarecrows that then existed, to 
the great amusement of their generation. For my part 
these typical specimens of human vanity have always 
been a delight to me as being beyond dispute those 
who amuse and teach us most. Being very averse to 
"come to terms with dangerous innovations," and a 
sworn foe to Jacobinism, the Marquis strove to make 
his person the faithful image of his lofty sentiments ; he 
consequently scorned all fashionable clothing, and 
made it his pleasure to startle the elegant world of the 
Court and the town by wearing antiquated garments 
such as were usually only to be seen on some venerable 


retired councillor returned from the Indies. Thus as 
late as 1798 he was still wearing a coat with full skirts 
and a waistcoat with flaps; and even in 1807 he could 
not make up his mind to adopt the double-breasted 
dress-coat and short tight vest which the satirists of the 
day called the " Anglo-Gala." 

I must add that the Marquis, with his Anti-Jacob- 
inism and his powdered wig, worthy to have figured at 
the Council of Coblentz, had been a man of dissipated 
habits. At the time of which I write age had to some 
extent improved him, and his follies went no further 
than a kindly complicity in all his niece's vagaries. 
He never hesitated to accompany her in her excur- 
sionsy and luncheons at the Canal or La Floriday with 
persons of very inferior rank to his own. Nor did he 
make difficulties about attending her to the entertain- 
ments given by La Gonzalez or La Prado, for uncle 
and niece equally enjoyed this intimacy with actors and 
other folks of the same stamp. I need hardly say that 
these expeditions were carried out secretly, and solely 
with the purpose of refreshing and amusing minds de- 
pressed by etiquette. Poor creatures! These aristo-. 
crats, seeking the society of the populace to enjoy a 
brief interval of freedom, were unconsciously bringing 
upon themselves the revolution they so much dreaded ; 
even before the advent of the French and the Voltair- 
eans they were laying the foundations of Equality. 



Lesbia, tapping Isidore's shoulder with her fan, ad- 
dressed him with : 

" I am very angry with you, Senor Maiquez — yes, 
very angry indeed." 

" Because I acted so badly this evening ?" said he. 
« It was all Pepilla's fault." 

" It is not that," said the lady, " but you shall do 
penance for all your sins at once." 

Isidoro bent his head humbly. Lesbia put her face 
close to his and spoke in so low a voice that neither I 
nor any one else could hear a word, but we could 
guess from Isidore's smiles that the lady must be say- 
ing very sweet things. They went on talking in an un- 
dertone, and each listened to the other with so much 
interest, gave so much point and expression to the lan- 
guage of the eye, were grave and gay, anxious and 
eager with such responsive and swift transitions, that 
the dullest must have understood that love was su- 
preme in the relations of these two. And to tell 
everything at once, I may add that the Marquis cast 
admiring eyes at La Gonzalez ; but she could not re- 
spond to his tender hints, for she had enough to do in 
trying to overhear Lesbia's confidential conversation 
with Isidoro. My mistress was red and white by turns 
out of sheer torment ; now seeming in a flaming passion 


and now overwhelmed by jealous pain, struggling to 
forget it, and talking quite at random. At last, unable 
to contain herself any longer, she said with some tem- 
per : " Is that long confession never coming to an 
end ? If you two go on much longer we must all set 
up a chant oipeccavi /" 

" What concern is it of yours ?" said Maiquez with 
an angry scowl and in the despotic tone he always used 
to the hapless underlings of his company. My mistress 
was dismayed and for some time did not speak another 

" They have a great deal to say to each other !" ob- 
served Amaranta spitefully.* " It was just the same the 
other day at my house. But such joys are transient, 
Senor Maiquez. Pleasure is short and fleeting. It is 
wise to make the most of the sweets of life before 
satiety embitters them." 

Lesbia looked round at her friend ; or, to be accu- 
rate, they looked at each other in a way which did not 
suggest that they were on very amiable terms. 

The whispered t^te-^-t^te between Isidoro and the 
lady became every minute more confidential, more ar- 
dent, and more eager. Time seemed to fail them 
between word to word, so that they could not say all 
they wished Amaranta was quite angry ; the Marquis 
aimed futile darts by word and look at the heart of my 
absent-minded mistress while she, each moment more 
miserable, betraying in her face the very madness of 
jealousy with the painful submission of a martyr, could 
not control herself to keep up a conversation, and 


seemed to have forgotten her duties to her guests. At 
last the Marquis, understanding that this was a favor- 
able opening for a speech, though addressed to women, 
on his favorite subject — public aflfairs — broke the 
solemn silence, saying : 

" The truth is that here we are, amusing ourselves, 
while, at this very hour perhaps, events may be prepar- 
ing which to-morrow may startle and scare us all." 

My mistress being, as I have said, in a state of 
mingled defiance and resignation, let herself be led by 
her first impulse which was to start a confidential dia- 
logue on her part with the old beau. She answered 
eagerly : 

" Why, what is going on ?" 

" It makes no difference here — It seems impos- 
sible when you are all so calm,'' said the Marquis post- 
poning his revelations. 

" Do not let us think of such matters, they have 
nothing to do with us here !" exclaimed his niece with 
some disgust. 

"Oh dear!" cried the Marquis much shocked. 
" Why should they not concern us ? Pepa, I know, is 
most eager to hear what is happening, and to hear it 
from my authoritative lips — are you not ?" 

" Yes indeed — I want you to tell me everything," 
said my mistress. "Such things delight me. I am 
just in the humor — to be amused: Let us talk Mar* 
quis — let me hear." 

" Pepa, you galvanize me," said the Marquis, gaz- 
ing at her lovingly out of his dim, dulled eyes. " So 


much SO that, though throughout my diplomatic career 
I have been distinguished for my extreme reserve, I 
will be frank with you and reveal to you the deepest 
secrets on which the fate of nations is hanging." 

" Oh ! I adore diplomatic men," exclaimed my 
mistress with feverish excitement. " Talk to me, pray, 
tell me everything you know. I should like to sit 
talking with you the whole evening Indeed, Serior 
Marqu6s, you are the most agreeable, the most delight- 
ful, the most interesting person to talk to that I ever 
met in my life." 

" He will tell you nothing, Pepa, but what all the 
world knows," said Amaranta, " and that is that at this 
moment Napoleon's troops must be marching into 

*'Oh! how delightful!" exclaimed Pepa. "Tell 
me all about it Seiior Marqu6s." 

" Niece, you will put me out of all patience at 
last!" cried the Marquis, taking up the matter with 
great seriousness. " It is not a question of whether 
the French troops will come in or stay out : it is 
whether they will enter Portugal and take possession 
of that country and divide it." 

" Divide it !" said La Gonzalez with her feverish 
gaiety. "By all means; I am quite content. Let 
them divide it." 

" Sweetest Pepa, these things cannot be settled in 
this ofF-hand way," said the Marquis very gravely. 
" Oh ! but you will learn judgment from me." 

" It is quite certain " said Amaranta, " that they 



have agreed to divide Portugal into three parts : the 
north is to be given to the king of Etruria, the centre 
the French will take, and the provinces of Algarbes 
and Alentejo will do to form a nice little kingdom of 
which Seiior Godoy will crown himself king." 

" Stuff and nonsense !" said the Marquis/ " That is 
what every one said a year ago, but who remembers 
all that now ? You have not kept up with the events 
of the day. — But of course I need not remind you 
that what I am going to tell you is a profound 

" Oh rely upon me," said my mistress. " For my 
part, I am charmed to listen." 

" Last year," said the Marquis, " Godoy was in 
treaty on this point with Napoleon through Izquierdo, 
his private agent. It seems that it was all settled, 
when suddenly the Emperor seemed to. hesitate, and at 
the same time Don Manuel, whose dignity was offended 
and whose personal ambition was cheated, published 
the famous proclamation of last October in the hope of 
displaying his power against Napoleon, while he sent a 
secret messenger to England to propose his joining the 
coalition of Northern Powers against France. This I 
know for certain, for what secret can escape my pene- 
tration and my consummate experience in such delicate 
negotiations ? — Well, matters were in this state when 
Napoleon beat the Prussians at Jena and then Don 
Manuel was in a great fnght, finding himself on the 
wrong side and fearing that the conqueror might take 
vengeance on the author of the proclamation, which 


was regarded as a declaration of war, both here and in 
France. He sent Izquierdo to Germany to sue for 
pardon, which at last was granted ; but he never again 
spoke of partitioning Portugal, or of reigning over Al- 
garbes. These, ladies, are the strict facts. I, from my 
previous experience and acquaintance, am well in- 
formed on all such subjects ; for while I study and in- 
vestigate what is going on here, there is always some 
foreign diplomate who will give me information under 
due reserve. At this day the partition of Portugal is 
not under discussion, my lady niece. What is happen- 
ing now is far more serious and — but no; there are 
certain things we are not at liberty to communicate. I 
will be silent till the grand catastrophe is a public fact. 
— Do you not approve of my discretion, dear Pepa ? 
Do you not agree with me that reticence is twin sister 
of diplomacy ?" 

" Oh ! Diplomacy is a thing I am devoted to !" ex- 
claimed my mistress affectedly. " Perfidious Albion ! 
The treaties ! Bonaparte ! The Coalition ! What ab- 
sorbing subjects are these ! — I must own that till now 
they have always bored me excessively; but now — 
this evening I am wild to know all about them, and 
your conversation, Seiior Marques, is perfectly delight- 

" No doubt," said the Marquis, bridling with satis- 
faction, " few persons can discuss these matters with so 
much delicacy and discretion — nay, why not be 
frank ? — with such a grace as I. When I was at 
Vienna, in the year 84, the ladies of the court would 


gather round me, and if you could but have seen how 
they spent their time listening to me. ..." 

" I can quite understand it. I myself am spending 
the evening — " said my mistress still strangely excited. 
" For pity's sake tell now about Austria, and Turkey 
and China, and the protocol, and the war; above all 
the war." 

** Have done with this tiresome talk for this even- 
ing," interrupted Amaranta. " I cannot believe, my 
dear uncle, that you are one of those who support the 
absurd notion that Godoy intends, with Bonaparte's as- 
sistance, to send the Royal family to America and 
make himself King of Spain !" 

" My dear niece, by all the saints I implore you 
not to tempt me to talk ; do not lead me on to forget 
the great principle that discretion is twin sister to 

" But it is quite ridiculous," his niece went on, " to 
suppose that Napoleon has sent his troops into Spain 
to give the crown to Prince Ferdinand. The heir to a 
throne cannot sue for the favor of a foreign potentate 
to aid him against his royal parents." 

" Come, come, ladies. Such grave matters cannot 
be spoken of so lightly. If I were to tell you all I 
know I should simpjy terrify you and we should eat no 

By this time the supper had arrived, and I began 
to serve it up. Isidoro and Lesbia, at my mistress's 
bidding, took their seats at the table, tore themselves 


from their raptures and for a while took part in the 
general conversation. 

"What are you talking about?" said Lesbia. 
** Did we come here to puzzle our brains about things 
which do not concern us. A pretty thing indeed !" 

" But what do you wish that we should talk about, 
you little wretch ?" 

"Of anything else — balls, bull-fights, plays, verses, 
dress. . . ." 

"What platitudes!" said my mistress contemptu- 
ously. " However, you can discuss what you please ; 
and we talk of what we like best." 

" Now I see why Pepa is so absent-minded," said 
Maiquez, laughing at my mistress. " She has devoted 
herself to the study of politics and diplomacy, a career 
better suited to her genius than the stage." 

Pepa would have liked to reply to this taunt, but 
the words died on her lips and she blushed scarlet. 

" We came here for amusement," Lesbia added. 

" Oh ! vain and frivolous youth !" exclaimed the 
Marquis, after swallowing a large glass of wine. 
" They think of nothing but amusing themselves while 
all Europe. ..." 

" A plague on all Europe 1" 

" Pepa is the only one of you who understands the 
gravity of the situation. You, the enchanting actress, 
will be one of the few who like myself will not be sur- 
prised at the catastrophe." 


" But will you tell us once for all what is going to 

" In the name of Heaven and all the saints ! " ex- 
claimed the Marquis, affecting compunction and en- 
treaty. "I implore you not to urge me with your 
pressing requests that I should tell things that ought 
never to pass my lips. Though I have full confidence 
in my own reticence, I greatly fear that if you insist on 
catechising me some phrase, some word may escape 
me. — Be silent for God's sake, for friendship is to me 
an irresistible power and I could not bear to find my- 
self tempted by it to forget the honor that has marked 
my career." 

" Then we will say no more. We do not want to 
know anything, Senor Marques," said Maiquez, per- 
ceiving that the best way to mortify the old man was 
to ask him no questions. There was a short silence. 
The Marquis, balked in his loquacity, never ceased 
eating; he put himself on a business footmg with a 
capon, availing himself of the good offices of a salad of 
endive to facilitate the transaction. Meanwhile he 
aboimded in civilities to my mistress, and his dull eyes, 
lighted up by love or wine — which I know not — 
glittered under their wrinkled lids and thick, grizzled 
brows, knit into a perennial frown by the practice of 
reading old-letter memoranda. La Gonzalez spoke not 
a word ; her whole attention was centred on the two 
lovers, though she did not look at them, while Ama- 
ranta, prompted no doubt by very different motives, 
gazed neither at Isidoro nor at Lesbia, neither at her 


unde nor at my mistress, but — dare I write it ? — at 
me. This however deserves a fresh chapter so I bring 
this one to an end to rest a whUe. 


Yes — will it be believed ? She was gazing at me ; 
and with what a look ! I could not account for this 
fixed curiosity, and if I were to tell the truth as a man 
of honor, to this day I have never solved the mystery. 
I was waiting at table as a matter of coiirse, and you 
cannot imagine how much I was disturbed when I be- 
came aware that this beautiful lady, the object of my 
fervent admiration, had fixed on me the most perfect 
eyes, as I believe, that ever saw the light since it 
dawned on this world. I felt myself changing color; 
my blood would rush furiously to my face and turn 
it crimson, and then sink back again to my beating 
heart, leaving me as pale as a corpse. How much 
crockery I broke that evening I do not know; my 
hands were trembling, and I must have waited very 
badly, altering the order of the dishes, and handing 
salt when I was asked for sugar. 

I asked myself: " What can this mean ? Is there 
anything strange in my appearance ? Why does this 
lady look at me so constantly ?" — When I left the 
room I ran to the kitchen and hastily looked at myself 
in a broken looking-glass that hung there ; but I saw 


nothing in my face worthy of notice. I returned to 
the dining-room, and again Amaranta fixed her eyes on 
me For a moment I even fancied — but no ! I 
laughed at myself for such gross presumption. Was it 
possible that a lady of such beauty and rank should 
feel — ? I remember going through all that a certain 
modem poet has written in a famous verse — but all 
reversed. However, it was of course a mere dream of 
my boyish conceit. How could a star in the sky look 
down on an earth-worm, except to amuse itself by 
comparing it with its own splendor and beauty ? 

I must nevertheless mention another circumstance, 
which is that, when my mistress blamed me for all my 
blunders in waiting at table, Amaranta seconded her 
gaze with a sweet smile which seemed to crave indul- 
gence for my short-comings. I was quite bewildered ; 
a fervid thrill, which seemed to be a sudden reinforce- 
ment of vital power, ran through my nerves producing 
a perfervid energy, to be followed by dull depression. 

After a long pause the conversation revived and be- 
came general. The Marquis, finding that no one 
asked him any questions, was most uneasy, looking 
from one to another in search of a victim to his dis- 
quisitions ; no one however seemed inclined to listen to 
him, so presently, in a tone of great annoyance, he 
started afi*esh, by saying that if they would insist on 
pressing him for information he would be compelled to 
avoid exposing his discretion a second time to such a 
test by declining to go into any society where the 
greatest respect was not shown for diplomatic secrets. 


■** But we have not said a word to you," said Lesbia 

Isidoro, knowing that the Marquis was a sworn foe 
to Godoy, said very deliberately : " It is quite certain 
that the Prince of Peace, who is an extremely clever 
man, will laugh his enemies' intrigues to scorn. 
Napoleon is his ally, and I say that he will receive 
from his Imperial Majesty not merely the crown of Al- 
garbes but that of Portugal or some other and better 
kingdom. I know Napoleon ; I had to do with him 
in Paris ; and I know he likes intrepid characters like 
Godoy. You will see, you will see, Seiior Marqu6s ; 
and we shall see you called to the new king's senate, 
or perhaps representing him as plenipotentiary in some 
court of Europe." 

The Marquis wiped his mouth with his table-nap- 
kin, threw himself back in his chair with a loud puff of 
satisfaction at finding himself thus appealed to, and 
fixed his eye on a wine-glass as though seeking some 
mysterious fulcrum for a profound reflection ; then he 
said with much emphasis : 

" My enemies, who are many, have disseminated 
throughout Europe the idea that I was in secret cor- 
respondence with Prince Talleyrand, Prince Borghese, 
Prince Piombino, the Grandduke of Aremberg and 
Lucien Bonaparte, and conniving with Godoy to con- 
coct the basis of a treaty by which Spain was to cede 
the provinces of Catalonia to France in exchange for 
Portugal and the kingdom of Naples — handing over 
Milan to the Queen of Etruria, and the kingdom of 


Westphalia to a Spanish prince — I know that this has 
been reported," he went on, raising his voice and strik- 
ing the table with his fist, " I know that has been said 
— it has come to my ears, yes Seiior! My calumnia- 
tors have made the sovereigns of Austria and Prussia 
believe it ; they cross-questioned me as to the matter ; 
Russia did not hesitate to take up the slander, and I 
was obliged to bring all my courage and tact into play 
before I could disperse the black clouds which had 
gathered round the horizon of my good name." The 
Marquis uttered these words in the tone of voice he 
might have used at a congress of the leading politicians 
of Europe. After blowing his nose loudly he went on : 

"Fortunately I am well known, and at length — 
well, I have the satisfaction of having been the subject 
of the most commendatory remarks from the sovereigns 
I have named. Oh ! I know full well what object the 
originators of such calumny had in view. It was under 
Godoy*s roof that the atrocious plot was hatched, with 
a view to ascertaining whether, under the authority of 
my name, this combination might not find some ac- 
ceptance in Europe. But, as was to be expected, these 
iniquitous intrigues came to no issue, and all Europe 
understood that the Prince of Peace and I could 
never act in concert in any transactions of general in- 
terest to all the Great Powers." 

" So that in fact you are not, as they say, a secret 
aUy of Godoy's ?" said Isidoro. 

The Marquis frowned, smiled scornfully, took a 
pinch of snuff and went on : 


" What monstrous notions will not calumny invent ? 
What stupid malice will not craft and falsehood devise 
against prudence and knowledge ? These charges have 
been brought against me again and again, and as often 
have I refuted them. But I must once more repeat 
what I have said on former occasions ; I had solemnly 
determined never to let the matter trouble me again, 
but the pertinacity of my friends and the obstinacy of 
the public compel me to return to it. I will speak 
plainly; if in the heat of self-defence I am led to make 
revelations which may sound unpleasantly in sonie ears 
let the blame fall on those who have provoked them, 
and not on me, since I must regard everything as sec* 
ondary to the brightness of my spotless reputation." 

Lesbia, Isidoro and my mistress struggled to keep 
from laughing at the old gentleman's vehement defence 
against the imaginary accusers of an individual for 
whom no one but himself cared a straw. Amaranta 
seemed pensive, but her meditations did not prevent 
her fixing those matchless eyes on me from time to 

"In 1792," said the Marquis, "Count Floridablan- 
ca's ministry fell ; he had intended and hoped to set 
some limits to the ravages of the French revolution. 
Ah ! the public never knew what secret hand had over- 
thrown that illustrious man, grown grey in the service 
of his sovereign, from his position as secretary of state. 
But how could a man of any perspicuity fail to see who 
the instrument was that led to this change of ministry ? 
— It was a young man of five and twenty, for whom 


the King and Queen had a particular affection, who had 
free access to the palace, and whose influence, even in 
the council chamber, affected the change of ministry 
and led to the elevation of the Count of Aranda. Had 
I any share in the event ? No ; a thousand times no. 
At that time I was attached to the Spanish Embassy to 
the Emperor Leopold, and I had no possible means of 
influencing the appointment of my friend the Count of 
Aranda. — But, alas ! he remained but a short time in 
power ; fresh machinations brought him to ruin, and in 
Noveinber of that same year Spain and the world 
looked on with surprise when the highest political 
office was conferred on that very youth of five and 
twenty — on whom immerited honors had already been 
heaped : he was Duke of la Alcudia, and a Grandee of 
Spain of the first-class; he wore the grand cross of 
Carlos III., and the cross of Santiago (St. James), 
besides holding the sinecures of Adjutant-general of the 
Guard; Field Marshal of the troops ; Gentleman of the 
bed-chamber to his Majesty, on duty ; Sergeant-major 
of the King's Body-guard, Councillor of State, Super- 
intendent-in-chief of roads and highways, etc., etc. 

" Godoy took the reins of Spanish government at a 
very critical time ; all men of foresight knew that evil 
days were at hand and did their utmost to ward them 
off. The foolish Duke of Alcudia declared war with 
France, in opposition to Aranda and of every one who 
had any experience in diplomacy. Did he care about 
us ? No. Did he listen to our advice ? No, — And let 
us see what has happened since the peace with France. 


" The King persisted in loading his favorite viith 
honors and distinctions of every description^ and at last 
betrothed him to a princess of the blood. So much 
favor bestowed on a mere nobody, who sought means 
of advancement by the basest means, roused hostility 
and discontent throughout the country. The fall of a 
favorite who had mismanaged the national Exchequer 
and demoralized justice by the sale of offices was in- 
evitable. And I ought to add — though it is a mo- 
mentary departure from my rule of systematic reticence 
— that I did nothing to promote the appointment of 
Saavedra and Jovellanos to be ministers of the Ex- 
chequer and of Justice. I entreat you to keep this 
perfectly secret ; never before has it passed my lips." 

" We will be as mute as curb-stones Seiior Mar- 
ques," said Isidore. 

" But. there was no help for it," the old man went 
on, looking round the room on all sides as though he 
had a large audience before him. "Jovellanos and 
Saavedra could form no administrative coalition with a 
man who has always been the personification of blun- 
dering and corruptibility. The French Republic, too^ 
plotted against the favorite. Jovellanos and Saavedra 
were determined to get rid of so dangerous a colleague 
and at last the king yielded to pressure and the voice 
of the people, and Godoy was dismissed in March 
1798. I hereby declare, once for all, that I had no 
share in his fall as has been reported. And this 
would be a good opportunity for telling something 
which I have always kept a secret — but no ; I have 


not such confidence in my hearers — I had better keep 
silence on a delicate matter of which no one knows 
anything. I need only repeat that I had nothing to do 
with Godoy's overthrow in 1798." 

" But Seiior Don Manuel's disgrace was not of long 
duration," said Isidoro, "for the Saavedra-Jovellanos 
ministry did not last long, and that of Urquijo, which 
succeeded it, did not live much longer." 

"Very true — so it happened," the Marquis went 
on. " The sovereigns could not get on without their 
familiar. Godoy was again appointed secretary of 
state, and hoping to gain prestige by war, he planned 
the famous expedition into Portugal to force that little 
kingdom to break off its alliance with England. Since 
then our ipinister's one thought has been to support 
Bonaparte's plans in the least advantageous manner for 
Spain. He himself commanded the army ovhich he 
formed at the cost of enormous sacrifices, and when 
the wretched Portuguese abandoned Olivenza without 
fighting a pitched battle, the favorite did honor to his 
imaginary victories by a theatrical triumph which 
caused the war to be known as the war of oranges^ 
He had a car constructed and decorated with flowers 
and boughs, and on this machine he had the Queen 
carried jolting in procession at the head of the troops, 
to receive from the commander-in-chief a branch of 
oranges gathered in Elvas by Spanish soldiers. I will 
not say another word about it, nor repeat all the pun- 
gent remarks which were on every lip on this occasion. 
Every man must settle with his own conscience, and 


should have energy enough to defend his own act and 
deed, as I, at this moment, am defending mine. Now 
I will proceed to another matter. 

"And here again, if I must repeat it a thousand 
times, I emphatically declare that I took no part what- 
soever in the negotiations over the treaty of San Ilde- 
fonso, nor in the co-operation of our fleet with the 
French, which brought about the defeat of Trafalgar. 
At the same time certain very curious things came to my 
knowledge through General Duroc, which I cannot re- 
veal to you, however earnestly you may desire to know 
them. No — do not ask me to tell you all I know ; do 
not put my discretion to the test; there are secrets 
which may not be uttered, even in the centre of the 
most intimate circle. I ought to be silent, and I am 
mute. If I could tell you, how completely I should 
silence the Prince of Peace and those who believe that 
I aided and abetted him in his infamous compacts with 
Napoleon. My sole object was to upset his scheming, 
and I may tell you, in strict confidence, that I several 
times succeeded. To this end I was forced to discredit 
myself in the eyes of l^urope, to incur the displeasure 
of the statesmen who had honored me with their confi- 
dence ; to this end my name is associated with all the 
schemes of the extreme Left at Paris. However, thanks 
to my skill, I shall discomfit my slanderers and save 
my good name. God grant I may also be enabled to 
save our Sovereigns and our country from the disgrace 
to which this abominable man is blindly hurrying them 
— a man who has risen by means which we all know, 


and who holds the helm of government in virtue of his 
stupid arrogance and insolent knavery." 

He spoke, raising a pinch of rappee to his nose with 
truly diplomatic solemnity ; then he blew his nose with 
more noise than that of a battery, looking at the com- 
pany over his handkerchief, and gave vent to the agita- 
tion of his great mind in a few vague phrases. To see 
and hear him I might have fancied that the mightiest 
problems of Europe were about to be solved over the 
table-cloth I myself had spread — the distribution of 
peoples and partition of nations — as though it were 
that of Campo Formio, of Presburg or of Lun^ville. 

" We are now perfectly convinced, Senor Marques," 
said Lesbia, " that you have not, and never have had 
any part in the disasters brought about by the Prince 
of Peace. Still, you have not told us what terrible 
evils hang over us now." 

" Not another word ; I will not utter another 
word," said the Marquis raising his voice. "So ask 
me no more. It is quite in vain, dear ladies. I am in- 
flexible, immovable; no compulsion, no cunning of 
curiosity shall succeed in dragging from me any further 
revelation. I entreated you to ask me no questions ; 
and now all I beg is that you will leave me in peace 
and cease to corrupt and tempt my experience and dis- 
cretion by the flattery of friendship." 

As I listened to the old courtier I was reminded of 
a famous braggart whom I had known at Cadiz, one 
Don Jos6 Maria Malespina.* They were alike mon- 

* See •• Trafalgar " by the same author. 


sters of vanity ; my Cadiz friend, however, lied shame- 
lessly and without rhyme or reason, while the Marquis 
did not distort facts but only imagined himself a man 
of consequence, so that his mania consisted in defend- 
ing himself against imaginary attacks and in refusing to 
divulge secrets which he did not know. This shows 
what infinite variety the Creator has developed in the 
moral fauna as well as in the physical 

Isidore and Lesbia had risen from table and were 
again spinning the spider's web of confidential love- 
making. My mistress had changed her mind as to her 
treatment of the Marquis. In vain did he promise 
perfect candor to her alone and revelations such as no 
human ear had yet received from his lips ; perhaps the 
prospect of knowing all the plans of the European 
powers had no particular charm for La Gonzalez; at 
any rate, she had not a word for her assiduous swain 
which was not bitterness itself. Amaranta, whose pen- 
sive mood was gradually changing, fixed her gaze on 
me in a way which seemed to imply an eager wish to 
open a conversation; and .finally, in contravention of 
every rule of etiquette, as I was collecting the empty 
plates she smiled a heavenly smile and pierced my 
heart with these few words : 

" Are you satisfied with your mistress ?" 

I cannot be certain, but I believe I answered her 
without raising my eyes : "Yes, Senora." 

" And you have no wish to change ? No wish to 
find any other situation ?" 



Again I cannot be sure, but I think I replied: 
" That would depend on where it might be." 

" You seem an intelligent lad," she went on with 
that smile that seemed to open Heaven before my 
eyes. To this I am quite sure that I made no answer; 
and after a short pause, during which my heart seemed 
ready to leap from my body, with a sudden impulse of 
daring which to this day amazes me I said : 

" Did you think of wishing to take me into your 
own service ?" 

Amaranta at this burst out laughing — a gracious 
laugh — and I stood bewildered, thinking I had said 
something unbecoming. I at once vanished with my 
pile of plates ; in the kitchen I recovered myself and 
tried to imagine what Amaranta's feelings towards me 
could be. At last, after a hundred fancies and doubts, 
I said to myself: "To-morrow I will tell In^s all about 
it and see what she thinks of the matter." 


On my return to the sitting-room the scene had not 
changed, but the advent of another person presently al- 
tered the situation. We heard gay voices and a pre- 
lude on the guitar at the front door, and a young man 
came in whom I had seen on various occasions at the 
theatre. There were others with him whom he dis- 
missed outside and came in alone, but so noisily that it 


might have been a regiment' marching into the house.* 
This youth, as I remember wore the costume of the 
common people, namely a rich, short jacket, a furred 
cap resembling a three-cornered cocked hat in shape 
but very much smaller, and a scarlet cloak lined with 
spotted plush. In spite of this garb you are not to 
suppose that he was some low fellow from Lavapi^s or 
Maravillas, for the garments I have described covered 
the person of one of the leading gentlemen of the 
Court ; but he, like many others of his time, liked to 
take his pleasures among the lower classes and fre- 
quented the haunts of various ladies of ill-repute but of 
wide notoriety. In his nocturnal excursions he always 
wore this dress which, it must be owned, became him 
amazingly well. 

This young man was in the Royal Guard, and his 
learning did not extend much beyond the science of 
heraldry, in which he was an adept, and the arts of the 
bull-ring and of riding. His constant occupation was 
gallantry to all women, high or low, in ladies' drawing- 
rooms or the cheapest dancing saloon. 

These well-known lines seemed to have been 
written expressly to describe him: 

Ves, Arnesto, aquel majo en siete varas 
de pardomonte envuelto .... 

" Oh ! Don Juan !" exclaimed Amaranta as he 
came in. " All hail to Senor de Manara !" 

The spirits of the party revived as if by magic at 


this gentleman's presence, and his turbulent jovi^ity 
was at once conspicuous. I perceived, too, that Amar- 
anta's face suddenly assumed ^n expression of wonder- 
ful vivacity and mischief* 

"Senor de Manara," said she lightly, "you have 
come in the very nick of time. Lesbia was missing you 
greatly." • 

Lesbia cast a terrible glance at her friend, while 
Isidoro was evidently in a violent rage. 

" Here, Don Juan, sit by me," said* my mistress 
eagerly, and offering Manara a chair at her left hand. 

" I did not expect to meet you here, Seiiora Du- 
quesa," said the dandy turning to Lesbia. " I came, 
to be sure, at the prompting of my heart — and I see 
that the heart is never mistaken." 

Lesbia was somewhat disturbed ; but she was not 
the woman to be put out of countenance by a critical 
encounter, and a brisk fire of witticisms, epigrams and 
laughter began between her and Manara. Maiquez 
was growing more fidgety every moment. 

"This is a lucky night for me," said Don Juan 
taking out a silk purse. " I have been at La Primo- 
rosa*s where I won about two thousand reaUs,^' And 
as he spoke he poured the gold out on the table. 

"Were there many people there?" asked Amar- 

"A great many, but the Marchioness could not 
come for a face-ache. Oh ! we had capital fun." 

" But for you," said Amaranta, in a tone that was 
really enraging, " there can be no pleasure where Les- 


bia is not." Again Lesbia gave her friend a sinister 

" And so I came here." 

" Would you like to test your good luck any fur- 
ther ?" said my mistress. " The cards, Gabriel ; bring 
the cards." 

I did as I was desired ; diamonds and spades, clubs 
and hearts were mingled by the deft fingers of Maiiara 
who shuffled with the rapidity of an experienced hand. 
Will you be banker ?" 
Very well. Now I will deal." 

The first cards fell ; every one took out some 
money ; anxious eyes were fixed on the fateful signs, 
and play began. In a few minutes nothing was to be 
heard but these brief but significant exclamations : 

"Three dollars on the caballo''* — "I will not 
give up my six of spades " — " The king takes it." " I 
win — he loses — Ten to me — That cursed knave I" 

" You are out of luck this evening, Maiquez," said 
Maiiara drawing in the actor's money, and in fact Isi- / 
doro had lost every time he staked. 

" And I am in such good luck !" said my mistress, 
collecting her money which was fast becoming a con- 
siderable sum. 

"Oh! Pepa, fortune is always on your side," ex- 
claimed the dealer. " But the old adage says * Lucky 
at play is unlucky in love.* " 

" On the contrary," said Amaranta, " you may say 
that she wins at both games. Is it* not so, Lesbia ?" 

* A card answering to the queen in value. 


Then turning to Isidoro who was losing heavily, she 
added : " And for you, poor Maiquez, the saying has 
no meaning either, for you are equally unlucky in 
everything. — It is not so, Lesbia ?" 

Lesbia's face was crimson. I fancied she was pre- 
paring to reply furiously, but she controlled herself and 
the storm was at any rate postponed for a while. The 
Marquis lost steadily, but he would not stop playing 
while he had a coin in his pocket. Neither would 
Maiquez who, when he came to an end of his ready 
cash, accepted a loan from the banker and then went 
on playing till past one when the party began to talk 
of breaking up. " I owe you thirty-six dollars," said 

"And what is finally the piece selected for per- 
formance at the Marquesa's ?" 

" We have agreed that it is to be Othello." 

" That is well I think, friend Isidoro. I am enthu- 
siastic over your performance in the part of the jealous 
Moor," said Manara. 

"Would you like to play Loredano?" asked the 

" No — it is a very thankless part. Besides — I am 
of no good as an actor." 

" I will teach you." 

" No thank you. — Have you taught Lesbia her 
part ?" 

" She knows it perfectly." 

" I wish the time would come," said Amaranta. 
" But tell me, Isidoro, if you found yourself in Othello's 


case, if you saw yourself deceived by the woman you 
loved, would you feel the same fearful wrath ? Would 
you be capable of killing your Edelmira ?" This arrow 
was aimed at Lesbia. 

" What an idea !" exclaimed Manara. " Such 
things never occur but on the stage." 

"I should not kill Edelmira — but I would kill 
Loredano," replied Maiquez decidedly, with a signifi- 
cant glance at the coxcomb. There was a short 
silence, during which I could plainly read the symp- 
toms of concentrated rage in Lesbians face. 

" Pepa, you have offered me no refreshment this 
evening," said Manara. " I have supped certainly ; 
but it is two o'clock now, little one." 

I brought the young gentleman some wine and 
then left the room, but I could hear them talking from 

*' Ladies and gentlemen," said Manara, raising a 
glass filled to the brim, " I drink to the health of our 
beloved Prince of Asturias ; — to the sacred cause 
which he represents — may it come to a happy issue 
within a few days ; — to the fall of the favorite and the 
deposition of the old king !" 

" Well said !" cried Lesbia clapping her hands. 

" I am among friends I believe," the youth went 
on. " I believe that a faithful subject of the new King 
may express joy and hope here without any reserve." 

" Horror ! Are you mad ? Prudence, young man," 
said the Marquis much scandalized. " How dare you 
reveal. . . .?" 


"Take care, take care," said Lesbia excitedly. 
" Senor Manara, you are in the presence of an intimate 
confidante of her Majesty the Queen." 

" Who is that ?" 

" Amaranta." 

" But so were you once, and they say you are pos- 
sessed of important secrets," said Amaranta. 

" Not so much so as yourself," retorted Lesbia re- 
covering her courage — " you who, as I hear, are now 
the depositary of all our beloved sovereign's secrets. 
It is a great honor for you I" 

" Certainly it is," replied Amaranta controlling her 
anger. "And I remain faithful to my benefactress. 
Ingratitude is a hideous vice and I never wish to fol- 
low the example of those who turn round and insult 
the friends who have shown them favor. Oh ! it is 
very convenient to discuss other people's faults so as to 
divert attention from one's own." 

Lesbia hesitated a moment before answering. The 
dialogue was becoming serious, and would have led to 
some hard hitting if the old Marquis, with his usual 
tact, had not interfered. 

" Ladies ! For Heaven's sake — What is this ? 
Are you not friends — intimates ? Can a difference of 
opinion cloud the serene sky of friendship ? Shake 
hands, and let us all drink a parting glass to the health 
of Lesbia and Amaranta joined in a sweet and sisterly 
aflfection !" 

" I am willing — here is my hand," said Amaranta 
putting it out very gravely. 


" We will speak of ^ this another time," said Lesbia, 
clasping it with an air of indifference. " For the pres- 
ent we ire friends." 

" Very well — another time." 

I went into the room again at this moment, and in 
both the ladies' faces I saw a look that did not seem to 
me to augur peace. This unpleasant scene, which 
happily went no further, put an end to the evening ; 
the hollow reconciliation was the signal for parting. 
All rose, and while the old diplomate and Manara 
were taking leave of my mistress Amaranta came 
quietly up to me, and speaking into my ear said in a 
whisper that seemed to thrill my brain: "I want to 
speak to you." 

I was utterly astounded ; but my surprise was in- 
creased a few minutes later when I escorted the party 
along the street, carrying a torch — as was then the 
custom, for at that time the streets were not lighted, or 
if there were a light in any street it was no more than 
enough to compare with the blackest darkness. We had 
proceeded as far as a magnificent house in the calle de 
Canizares — the ver}' house in which In^s lived, but in 
an entresol reached by a separate staircase. In the 
courtyard of this mansion, which belonged to our 
diplomatic Marquis — or, to be accurate, to his sister 
— the chairs were waiting in which the ladies were to 
be carried each to her own residence. Before getting 
into her chair Amaranta called me to her and told me 
to wait upon her on the following day at this same 
house, where I was to enquire for a certain Dolores — 


whom I afterwards discovered to be her waiting-maid. 
This command delighted me greatly, and I saw in it 
the foundation of my future fortunes. 

I hastened home again ; I found my mistress- 
greatly agitated, walking up and down the little room 
and talking to herself as though her mind were disor- 

" Did you notice," she asked me, " whether Isidoro 
and Mariara quarrelled as they went ?" 

" No, I did not observe them," said I, " but what 
could the two gentlemen have to quarrel about ?" 

" Oh ! you do not know how glad I am, Gabriel — 
I am quite satisfied now," said La Gonzalez; her eyes 
were wild and her manner so full of fevered excitement 
that I was alarmed. 

" What about, Senora ?" I asked. " It is time now 
to go to rest and you seem to need it." 

" No, silly boy. I shall not sleep this night," she 
said. " Do not you know that I cannot sleep ? Ah f 
how I enjoy thinking of his rage and despair." 

" I do not understand Madam." 

"You do not know an)rthing about such matters 
child; go to bed — But stay, no — come here and 
listen to me. It really seems like a judgment from 
God! The simple fool does not know the viper he 
holds clasped in his arms." 

" You allude to Isidoro I fancy ?" 

" Quite right. You know that he is in love with 
Lesbia. He is more crazed than I ever have known 
him. In spite of his pride how abjectly he has flung 


himself at that woman's feet. He, so accustomed to 
rule, is now the subject, and his frantic passion will 
make him a laughing stock in the theatre and outside 

"But it seems to me that Senor Maiquez is in 

" He was ; but Lesbia's favor is short-lived. Oh ! 
he deserves it thoroughly. Lesbia is inconstancy it- 

** I should not have believed it of so gracious and 
sweet a lady." 

" With her cherubic little face, her unfading smile, 
and her ingenuous air Lesbia is a monster of levity and 

" Perhaps Senot Manara. . . ." 

" There is no perhaps. Manara is now the favorite, 
— and if she speaks to Isidore it is only to amuse 
herself at his expense and trifle with his feelings — 
poor wretch. Yes ; at this moment Isidore's heart is 
like a ball of cotton under the paws of a mischievous 
cat. — But still, has he not deserved it ? Oh ! I am 
wild with delight !" 

" That was why Seiiora Amaranta went on saying 
such things — " said I, very anxious that my mistress 
should enlighten my doubts as to many of the events 
and speeches of the evening. 

" Oh ! Lesbia and Amaranta hate each other 
though they came here together — loathe each other, 
and long to be each other's ruin. Formerly they got 
on very well, but for some time now — I fancy some* 


thing that happened at the Palace must be the cause of 
their hatred, which began some time since and ere long 
will be war to the death." 

"Every one knows that they are not on good 

"In the Palace, as I have been told, the most 
bitter and implacable passions are fostered. Amaranta 
is greatly attached to the King and Queen, while Les- 
bia, it seems, is one of the ladies who intrigue most in- 
veterately among the adherents of the Prince of As- 
tiuias. They are just now so much provoked with 
each other that they cannot find means of dissembling 
their detestation." 

"And is Amaranta as frivolous a woman as her 
friend?" I asked, wishing to gain some information 
with regard to the lady whom I already regarded as 
my protectress. 

"Quite the reverse," said my mistress. "Ama- 
ranta is a great lady, as discreet as she is handsome, and 
her conduct is above reproach. She is the protectress 
of the destitute ; her kind and feeling heart is indefati- 
gable in aiding those who need succor, and as she is 
very influential at Court, her favor almost outweighing 
that of the sovereigns themselves, the man who is so 
happy as to win her good graces may consider his for- 
tune made." 

" That was what I fancied," said I, delighted by such 
a flattering account. 

" I hope," said my mistress, still in a fever of ex- 


citement, " that Amaranta will help me to revenge my- 

" On whom ?" I asked in some alarm. 

" I. fancy the Marquesa's party are all invited," she 
went on, heedless of my question. " No one cares for 
the thankless part of P^saro, and that will lead to a 
vexatious delay. — Would you like to play it, Gabriel ?" 

" I, Seiiora! — I should be of no use whatever." 

She remained silent and meditative for some time^ 
her brows knit and her eyes fixed on the ground, till 
she presently returned to the former subject : 

" I am satisfied," she said, with that painful mirth 
which characterizes the very crisis of passion. " Les- 
bia is faithless, Lesbia is deceiving him, Lesbia is mak- 
ing him ridiculous, Lesbia will punish him ! — Oh, 
great God ! I see that there is such a thing as justice 
on earth." 

Then she grew a little calmer and sent me to bed*; 
but when I had quitted the room, leaving her with her 
maid, I heard her weeping bitterly and fi'eely, and her 
abundant tears must have alleviated the excitement of 
her mind and brought calm to her fevered brain. To 
her maid's advice and entreaties that she should go to 
bed she only replied : " Why should I go to bed when 
I know that I shall not sleep all night ?" 

I retired to my own little room — a narrow closet 
into which the intruding light never penetrated even at 
noonday, I lay down, deeply grieved for my mistress 
in her hapless passion; still, such thoughts mingled 
with others as to my own position, and these, far from 


being sad, rejoiced my soul. They brought with them 
the image of Amaranta, which lighted up my squalid 
room like moonlight, and I fell asleep dreaming of the 
story of Diana and Endymion with which I was 
familiar from a print in the drawing-room. 


On waking next morning, all the ideas and fancies 
that had agitated my mind the night before came 
crowding upon me. The liking I supposed Amaranta 
to have taken for me had quite turned my head, as the 
friendly reader will perceive when I confess all the ab- 
surdities I said and the mad dreams I indulged in 
during my meditations and self-communings that mom- 

" It is not yet time to call upon the lady," said I to 
myself. " I have not the slightest doubt that she has 
taken a fancy to me; and no wonder, for several 
people have told me that I am not .bad-looking. As 
Dona Juana says : Bishops are only made out of men ; 
and who knows whether in half a dozen short years I 
may not find myself made a duke or a count or an ad- 
miral, all in a winking, like some others I know of and 
who owe their rise to the good graces of this or that 
high personage. Be honest, Gabriel. Do you not, 
every day o'f your life, hear of a certain personage who 
A little while ago was a poor beggar and now is all a 


man can hope to be ? And all for what ? By the 
favor of a lady of high rank. — And who shall say that 
what one man has done another shall fail in ? — He, 
BO doubt, was a dashing gallant ; but I am perfectly 
well aware that I am no blockhead ; many people have 
told me that they liked my looks, and I must confess 
that I have a mischievous pair of eyes, quite enough to 
turn the heads of the whole female sex. — Courage, 
Gabriel 1 My mistress tells me that Amaranta is the 
most influential lady at Court, and who knows but she 
may be of the blood royal! Oh! divine Amaranta, 
what can I do to deserve your favor ? — If I ever 
should come to fill any high position I swear to 
Heaven I will be the most efficient man that ever 
governed in this world. One thing is very certain, no 
one shall ever accuse me, as they accuse that other, of 
doing so much mischief. I will keep everything in the 
very best order, and for my own part 1 will spend no 
more than is absolutely necessary. — The first thing I 
will see to is that there shall be no poor ; Spain shall 
not be allowed to combine with France, and in every 
market-place in the kingdom the price of food shall be 
fixed so that the poor may buy everything quite cheap. 
We shall see whether I know how to govern or no I 
and whether I am not a genius after all — If my 
orders are not obeyed — I will stand no nonsense! 
Those who resist — off with their heads, and there's an 
end of it; in that way everything must go on as 
straight as a distaff. What I say I mean. I will have 
nothing to do with the French ; Napoleon must take 


care of himself; we will do what is best for ourselves, 
and they had better not rouse my temper, for I can fly 
out if I am provoked. — Oh ! if all this should ever 
come to pass how glad poor Ines will be ; and she will 
not talk to me then about the tortoise and the eagle. 
It strikes me that Ines is rather wanting in scope — 
still, she is so good that I shall always love her. — 
Only, I must adore Amaranta — but how can I cease 
to love In6s ? — However, it is absolutely necessary 
that I should adore Amaranta above everything — but 
In6s is so sensible, so good, so — but Amaranta en- 
slaves me, fascinates me, turns my brain — but In6s — 
but Amaranta. . . ." 

I said this aloud, goaded like a wild horse by the 
extravagance of my fancies ; and the reader will have 
observed that, imagining myself beloved by a lady of 
rank and influence, my first thoughts were of personal 
aggrandizement, and my first desire to gain honors and 
places. This I have since seen to be inherent in Span* 
ish blood. In all ages we have been the same. 

I got up, and took my basket to go to market; and 
while I made my way about the market-place, haggling 
over potatoes and cabbages, I reflected how unsuitable 
and degrading such humble duties were for a youth 
destined ere long to be commander-in-chief of the 
forces by land and sea, high admiral, prime minister, or 
even king of some little territory which might fall to 
his share in the redistribution of Europe — who could 

Setting aside for the present all that concerns my- 


s^f, I will give a slight sketch of the state of public 
opinion at that time as to the political events of the 
day. I perceived that in the market-place these sub- 
jects were being discussed, and in the streets every one 
was asking questions and exchanging the false rumors 
of which each in his turn was the inventor or the inno- 
cent medium. I myself spoke of the matter to various 
acquaintances, and I shall proceed to report with per- 
fect impartiality the opinions of those who, being the 
most diverse in position and capacity, represent most 
fairly the general feeling of the public. A shopman — 
a dealer in foreign groceries generally supplied our 
house, and who was at all times given to wagging his 
tongue, seemed to me in better spirits than usual and 
particularly disposed to jest with his customers. 

" What news in your parts ?" I asked him. 

"Oh! great news! The French have come into 
Spain. I am delighted." Then, lowering his voice, 
he went on with a look of glee : " They are going to 
conquer Portugal ! It is enough to turn a man's head 
for joy." 

" I do not understand." 

" Ah ! Gabriellilo, you are but a boy ; you do not 
understand such matters. Come here, simpleton. If 
they conquer Portugal what can they want it for but to 
give it to Spain ?" 

" And can a conquered kingdom be handed over as 
a gift, just as if it were a pound of medlars, Senor de 
Cuacos ?" 

"Why of course. I like Napoleon for my part* 



He really loves Spain, and his one aim is to make us 

"What next indeed! Does he love us for our 
pretty face do you think, or because it suits him to take 
otir money, ships and troops, and whatever else he 
fancies ?'' said I, more and more determined to break 
with France when I should be minister. 

"He loves us because he does. And the first 
thing he will do now is to rid us of Senor Godoy who 
has us in his clutches." 

" Will you have the kindness to tell me what that 
gentleman has done that every one hates him so ?" 

"What? Well, that is no matter of fancy. Do 
you not know that he is an impostor, insolent, lustful, 
deceitful, and designing ? Why, we all know to what 
he owes his fortune ; and in fact he is not to blame, 
but those who believe in him. You must know that 
he sells offices, and on what terms 1 Any one who has 
a pretty wife or daughter is sure to succeed when he 
applies to his Highness. Why, at this very time they 
talk of the Royal family going to America and leaving 
him King of Spain. However he did not calculate as 
closely as he should have done, and Napoleon comes 
in at the nick of time to upset all his plans. God 
knows what may happen within the next few days ; I 
believe that Napoleon, who is the fiiend and admirer 
of our noble Prince of Asturias, will set him on the 
throne if only Master — well, if King C&rlos and his 
precious wife will take themselves off, wherever they 


We said no more ; I went into a shop kept by one 
Dona Ambrosia to buy a little silk I had been desired 
to get for my mistress, and across the coimter I could 
see the grave shop-woman, caressing her cat, without 
ceasing to attend to a conversation that was being car- 
ried on between Don Anatolio, the scrivener, on the 
footway just outside, and the abb^ Don Lino Pani- 
agua, who was buying some green and blue ribbons. 

" You may be quite sure of one thing, Sefiora Dona 
Ambrosia," said the writer, ," this time we shall really 
be quit of the choricero^ * 

" Some one must have gone to France," replied the 
woman of the shop, " and have told that Heaven-sent 
Emperor all the mischief Godoy is doing here, and 
that is why he has sent an army to get him out of the 

" But, asking your pardon," said the priest looking 
up, " I, who move in the best society, can assure you 
that Napoleon's intentions are far from being those 
commonly ascribed to him. Napoleon is sending his 
troops not against Godoy but to help him; for you 
must know that by a secret treaty — and this is quite 
between ourselves — they have agreed to turn the 
Braganza family out of Portugal and divide. the king- 
dom among three persons, one of whom will be the 
Prince of Peace." 

" That was talked of some time since," remarked 
Don Anatolio contemptuously. " But there is no ques- 

* Sausage maker. A nickname given to the natives of Estrema- 
4ura and especially to Godoy. 


tion of such a partition now. The whole and simple 
truth is that Napoleon intends to take Portugal from 
the English, and a good thing, too — yes Senor." 

"But I heard," said Dona Ambrosia, "that what 
Godoy wants is to send oflf the Prince and his brothers 
to America, so as to remain sole ruler of Spain. Now 
this cannot be allowed. What do you say, Don Ana- 
tolip ? — What a wild idea ! But what can you expect 
of a man who has two \nves ?" 

" And I believe they "both sit at meals with him, 
one on the right hand and one on the left," ^dded Don 

" For pity's sake don't speak so loud !" cried Don 
Lino in alarm. " It is not safe to say such things." 

" No one hears us ; and besides, if you are going to 
imprison every one who talks of these things Madrid 
will soon be a desert." 

." Very true," Dona Ambrosia went on in a lower 
tone. "My deceased husband — God rest his soul^ 
and he was the most truthful man that ever eat turnips 
— he used to say, and you may take my word for it he 
knew what he was saying, that when the pork butcher 
was so anxious that the Council of State should make 
the Queen regent — well, I do not know if I make my- 
self clear — it was because he wanted to send his 
majesty Don Carlos to a better world, so that. . . ." 

" What abominable things people say now-a-days !" 
exclaimed the priest. 

"But it is the simple truth," said Don Anatolio. 


** I heard the same thing from a person who knew all 
about It." 

" Still such things are not to be talked about ; they 
are to be hushed up," urged Paniagua. " Frankly I do 
not like to hear such things said. They frighten me ; 
and if they should come to the ears of the Prince of 
Peace himself, just imagine the consequences." 

" Well, he has given us no prebends and we have 
not asked him for priests' allowances. . . ." 

" Well, well pray make haste, Seiiora Dona Ambro- 
sia," said the Ahh6, "I am in a hurry. This green 
ribbon is quite the fashion ; but as to this blue one, I 
could not venture to take that to the Condesa de Cas- 
tro-Limon." , 

She served the Ahh6 and then me, more quickly 
than I could have wished, for I should gladly have 
lingered to listen to the political discussions I enjoyed 
so keenly. I was going straight home when I hap- 
pened to meet the reverend father. Brother Jos6 Sal- 
mon of the Order of Mercy, an excellent man who was 
in the habit of visiting Dona Dominiguita, my mistress's 
grandmother, as often as she thought herself ill and 
was possessed with a desire to make a pious end. He 
prescribed remedies for the first evil and prepared her 
soul for the second ; for Salmon was a treasure in both 
capacities, and only needed an o in the middle of his 
name to identify him with the type of all wisdom. He 
stopped me and addressing me with affable politeness 
asked me : " And the incomparable Dona Dominga — 
how is she ? What effect has the decoction of rasp- 


berry bark had upon her — or was it Tetragonia ficoide 
as Dioscorides has it ?" 

" Excellent," said I ; though I knew nothing what- 
ever of the matter. 

" I will send her some pills this evening, and the 
good lady shall recover the use of her limbs or my 
name is not Padre Salmon of the Order of Mercy. — 
But what fine pears you have, boy," he went on, put- 
ting his hand into my basket and helping himself to 
the fruit in question. " You are a good hand at choos- 
ing pears." And after smelling at it he proceeded to 
put the fruit into the sleeve of his long robe without 
asking leave. Then he went on, saying : " Tell her 
I will call on her this evening and givfi her all the great 
news that is stirring in Spain." 

" You who know so much," I began, impelled by 
my curiosity, "could you tell me what the French 
troops are coming for ?" 

" If you were half as wise as I am," said he, " I 
could give you all the various reasons which make me 
rejoice to see the arrival of these gentry. Perhaps you 
are not aware that it was Napoleon who restored 
public worship in France after the horrors and heresies 
of the revolution ? And you do not know either that 
even here, there is a diabolical personage in whose 
mind audacious schemes are seething against the Holy 
Church ? But, knowing this, who can fail to perceive 
that the arrival of this army can have no other purpose 
than the richly merited punishment of that insolent 


sinner, that shameless polygamist, that sworn foe to ec- 
clesiastical rights ?" 

" Then," said I, " this Seiior Godoy is not merely a 
rascal, and this, that and the other, but an enemy of 
religion, too, and of all religious orders ?" I was 
amazed to find how the list of the favorite's crimes was 

" To be sure he is," said the friar. " If not what is 
to be said of the scheme for reforming the mendicant 
orders, forcing them to forego a monastic life, and 
making the saintly Brethren serve in public hospitals ? 
His diabolical ingenuity has been at work, too, on a 
plan for robbing the farms belonging to us of as much 
as is necessary for establishing some others as schools 
of agriculture — Grod knows what such schools would 
be! And if all be true," he added, putting out his 
hand for a further raid on my basket, '' if all be true 
that they say about ^ his intended alienation of part of 
the estates in mortmain, as they are called .... But we 
will not worry ourselves about that; it is so preposter- 
ous as to be a subject for laughter rather than indigna- 
tion ! We will rather fix our eyes on the Star of Gaul, 
who comes like a divine champion to deliver us firom 
the tyranny of a villainous minion by setting on the 
throne the august prince in whose wisdom and judg- 
ment we may safely trust." 

By the time he had ended his speech he had trans- 
ferred to his sleeve another pear and half a dozen 
plums and repeated his smiling encomiums of my skill 
in marketing. I hastened to part from an informant 



who cost me so dear, and bid him good day, foregoing 
the benefit of his superior wisdom. 

I had not gained much on the whole, nor dissipated 
my doubts on what we should now term " the political 
situation ; " the only thing I saw with some distinctness 
was the odium universally incurred by the Prince of 
Peace who was regarded as corrupt, reckless and im- 
moral, a trafficker in office, a polygamist, a foe to the 
Church, and accused, to crown all, of aiming at the 
throne of our sovereign, which, to me, was the very 
height of atrocity. I saw, too, no less clearly, that all 
classes of society loved the Prince of Asturias, and that 
all who looked forward anxiously to his accession to 
the throne, trusted to Bonaparte to bring about that 
event — and the French troops were already marching 
across Spain in the direction of the Portuguese frontier. 

I went back into the market-place to repair the in- 
roads made on my basket by the reverend Father, and 
there whom should I meet but the unhappy playwright 
whom natiu-e had made a poet in a garret, with his 
daughter Joaquinita; he was buying on credit heaven 
knows what miserable scraps of meat and odds and 
ends, such as they were fain to live upon. He simply 
begged for things ; the hunchbacked girl tried to 
cheapen them ; and between them they carried off a 
meal of which the whole weight would not have been 
too much for a child of five. Misery had marked the 
faces of father and daughter alike with its ugliest lines; 
he especially was so thin and dried up that it was hard 
to understand how he could live and move his debili- 


tated frame, but for the galvanizing force of the mys- 
terious divinity of poetry. Need I name him ? It was 

"SencMT Don Luciano 1" said I, making my bow- 
with affectionate respect, " you here 1" For I felt the 
keenest pity for the poor man. 

" Ah ! Gabriel," said he. " And Pepita, and Dona 
Dominga ? It is an age since I saw them. But they 
know that, though I am prevented by work from pay- 
ing them my respects, I am truly grateful to them." 

" I expect to go to your house to-day to carry you 
some little offering," said I, replying by word to the 
sad, beseeching looks of the poet's daughter whose 
eyes spoke the language of hunger. 

"You must come home with me," said the poet, 
taking my arm with a solemnity which conveyed that 
he had something of the greatest importance to say to 
me : " You told me that you were present at the fight 
at Trafalgar, and I want to consult you as to certain 
details. . . . for I. . . ." 

" You are writing a history of the battle ?" 
** No — not a history; a little play which will make 
folks open their eyes. You will see what a play ! It 
is entitled " The third great Frederick and the battle of 
the twenty-first." 

" A very good title," said I. " But I do not know 
what you n^ean by ' the third Great Frederick." 

" Simpleton ! — Why, the third Great Frederick is 
Gravina ; and as there was a Frederick the Great of 
Prussia who was Frederick the second, do not you see 


how ingenious, and appropriate, and poetical it is to 
place our admiral on the list of the great Fredericks 
that the world has seen." 

" To be sure. It is an idea that would have oc- 
curred to no one but you." 

"Joaquina has already written out the opening 
scenes ; they are splendid. In the first act we see the 
deck of the Santisima Trinidad; on the right is Nel- 
son's ship, and in the distance Cadiz with its castles 
and towers. I ought to explain to you that I make 
Nelson in love with a daughter of Gravina's who 
refuses to consent to their imion. The play begins 
with a mutiny among the Spanish sailors who clamor 
for bread, for there is not a crumb left on board. The 
admiral flies into a rage and tells them they are 
cowards, for they have not courage enough to hold out 
for three days without food ; and he sets them the ex- 
ample of the noblest moderation by ordering them to 
serve him a morsel of stewed rope's end. Nelson 
comes on and explains that all will end happily if only 
they will give him the girl to carry off with him to 
England ; the young lady then comes out of a cabin^ 
embroidering a handkerchief and. . . ." 

He said no more, for I burst into a violent and un- 
controllable fit of laughter which disconcerted him a 
little, though I assured him, to avoid vexing him, that 
I was laughing at a reminiscence that had suddenly 
occurred to my mind. 

" The scene' of the mutiny is written, and to tell 
you the truth, it is faultless." 


" I have no doubt, it must be admirable," said I 
slyly, ''particularly if Seiiorita Joaquina has had a 
hand in it/' 

"We have already written to all the theatres in 
Italy, who, as usual, will fight for the honor of translat- 
ing it," said Joaquina. 

"Ah!" exclaimed her father, "true merit meets 
with no reward here. It is well said that the prophet 
is without honor in his own country. Posterity it is 
true will be just, but, till such justice is done, men of 
superior merit drag out a miserable existence and die 
like vagabonds without any one's caring. But what I 
say is this : Of what avail to me then will mausoleums 
be, or the inscriptions and statues with which men may 
honor me in the future, when envy is silenced and no 
one has a doubt of the merits of my works ? Am I 
not living in misery and dying of neglect ? Do I get 
any solid benefit now firom being the greatest writer of 
the age ? Of course if anything can comfort me it is 
the reflection that Spain will one day blush to remem- 
ber that the author of 'Catharine at Cronstadt,* of 
' Frederick II. at Glatz,' of * The feeling Negro,' * The 
Maiden who feigns sickness for love,' ' Codma and Si- 
noris,' ' The Highland Maid of Lambrun,' and numer- 
ous other pieces lived for years breakfasting off two 
penn 'orth of black puddings, and other such details 
which I will not mention out of respect for the poetic 
art, since I would not degrade that by my own humili- 
ations I — But we will not talk of such things which 
only sadden us and force us to denounce a mother- 


country which does not know how to reward merit, 
and a time when those who are in power protect envy, 
and persecute genius." 

*^ Be caUn, be calm, Don Luciano," said I to dis- 
play my interest in the triumph of genius over envy. 
"There are better days in store. ^Who can tell what 
to-morrow may bring forth I" 

«Yes — so I have been told," said Comella in a 
lower tone, with a smile of satisfaction. ^ Is it quite 
certain that Napoleon wiU side with the Prince of As- 
turias ? Will Godoy be overthrown ?" 

" Not a doubt of it For what has Napoleon more 
at heart than the good of Spain ?" 

" Very true; and though he and Godoy have been 
great allies it would seem that he has discovered all 
Godoy's wicked tricks, and knowing that we all are 
devoted to the heir apparent, he is minded to gratify 
our preference. As for Godoy, I believe there is no 
worse man on the whole face of the globe. We might 
forgive him the means by which he has risen ; we 
might forgive him for being a polygamist and an 
atheist, cruel, venal and fifty other things; but the sin 
for which there is no name, and which proves more 
clearly than anything else the utter corruption of his 
life, is that he patronizes bad poets and neglects those 
who are not only good but genuinely national and 
Spanish — like myself — and who refuse to recognize 
that jumble of absurd foreign rules which Moratin and 
other wretched poetasters impose upon fools. Do you 
not agree with me ?" 


" Entirely," quoth I. " But now, Senor Don Lu- 
ciano, you will see how the French, when they have 
settled the affairs of Portugal, will take Spain in hand^ 
and put an end to the patronage of bad poets." 

" God grant it I — But we must be going, for I 
want to finish the scene between Nelson and Gravina's 
daughter before I breakfast." 

" Are you so pressed for time ?" 

" It must be in the hands of the manager of the 
Cruz Theatre by the end of the month. It will be an 
enormous success ; you will see Gabrielillo. You must 
come to applaud me, for I am very much afraid that 
Estala, Melon and Moratin will have a party to hiss it 
down. We must proceed with caution, and even if 
they have the protection of the government we need 
not take fright at that ; Posterity will judge. — And so 

They walked quickly away, and I remained reflect- 
ing on the series of crimes the Prince of Peace must 
have been guilty of to set a bad poet so much against 
him. It was not till long after that I understood that 
among the many evil deeds of this monstrous birth of 
Fortune there were some which Posterity, on the con- 
trary, would always remember with gratitude. 



But before returning home it was my lot to hear 
another opinion quite unlike any of these, and an 
opinion which I held in high respect — that, namely, 
of Pacorro Chinitas, the knife-grinder, who carried on 
his ambulatory industry at the comer of our street. I 
fancy I can see him now, with his grindstone throwing 
off a stream of swift sparks like the tail of a small 
comet, as the steel came in contact with the whirling 
wheel ; for, as it was my habit never to take my eyes 
oflf the machine while I stood talking to the Jove who 
produced these lightnings, the phenomenon remained 
deeply impressed on my fancy. 

Pacorro Chinitas was a man who looked much 
older than he really was, thanks to domestic worry of 
which his wife was the cause ; she was a famous maker 
of cakes, and was known by the name of La Frimarosa. 
I must not proceed without giving a sketch of this 
couple, for the two persons who formed it will figure in 
certain events which I propose to relate if, as I hope, 
my own life and my reader's patience hold out long 

The fact was that Pacorro Chinitas, a very kindly 
and worthy man, could not get on at all with La 
JMmorosa whom reputation, extending from pole to 


pole — that is to say from Calle de la Pasi6n (Street of 
the Passion) to the portico of St. Bernardino, accused 
of being quarrelsome and pugnacious, and able to deal 
a blow that would break a man's jaws, without her 
ever having fallen into the clutches of the police for 
this or any other exploit. Chinitas was obliged to sue 
for a separation and resign himself to the sole com- 
panionship of the wheel with its aureola of sparks ; but 
this was before I made his acquaintance. As we 
became friends he would relate some of his former 
hairs escapades, and while in other matters he was 
singularly reticent, in this he was very prolix, for not a 
day passed that he had not some fresh chapter to tell 
me from the long history of his matrimonial griefs. 
Finding in this man a certain ripeness of judgment and 
practical sense which I failed to discover in other 
people, I conceived a great liking for his conversation, 
and whatever he said seemed to me as precious as 
pearls, though I could not account for my reverenci^ 
for the views of an ignorant and illiterate man. In 
later Hfe, much meditation on the events and public 
opinion of that time enables me to say without fear of 
mistake that by far the shrewdest man I knew at that 
period of my life was the knife-grinder of the Calle del 
Baiio. In proof of this I will record our conversation. 

"Well, Chinitas! How are you? What is the 
news in your part* of the world? So we have got the 
French in Spain ?" 

"So I hear," replied he. "And all the world is 


"It seems they are going to take possession of 

"Yes — I hear that, too." 

"That strikes me as a good move. What is the 
use of Portugal." 

" Look here, Gabrielillo," said he sitting upright and 
taking the scissors from the wheel so that the sparks 
for a few minutes ceased to fly. " You and I are mere 
nobodies who understand nothing of such high matters. 
But mark my words : I believe that these gentlefolks 
who are so glad that the French have crossed the fron- 
tier do not know what will come of it, and will see 
before long what their little amusement will cost them. 
Do not you think so ?" 

" How should I know what to think. Since Godoy 
is so bad perhaps Napoleon is coming to turn him out 
and set the Prince of Asturias on the throne; he, they 
say, is a royal bird to govern." 

Chinitas again laid the blade to the stone which he 
set whirling with his foot ; he responded with an ex- 
pressive grimace and added : 

" I say and I repeat that all these gentry seem to 
me a pack of idiots. We poor folks who can neither 
read nor write now and then hit the mark better than 
they do; things that they fail to see, because they 
stand so near the sun of power that they are dazzled by 
it, we can see very clearly from down below. And if 
this is not so will you just tell me this : must not a man 
be blind who fails to understand that Napoleon does 
not say what he thinks ? Has not he turned the whole 


world topsy-turvy, and deprived kings of their thrones 
simply to give them to his good-for-nothing brothers ? 
They say he is coming to support the Prince of Astu- 
rias and turn out the Chorkero, Why, it mak^s me 
laugh! As if he and Godoy were not laying their 
heads together to play some wicked trick. The last 
thing Napoleon cares about is whether Ferdinand 
reigns or Don Manuel is in favor ; all he wants is to 
clutch at Portugal and give part of it to Godoy and 
part to the young lady he has made queen of Trucha 
or Truria — over there. ..." 

" Well let him take it and divide it !" cried I, with 
' cruel indifference to the feelings of our neighbors. 
" What does that matter to us ? So long as we are rid 
of that scoimdrel. . . ." 

" But if they take Portugal to-day because it is a 
little kingdom, to-morrow they will seize Spain because 
it is a large one. It makes me quite angry when I see 
these simpletons going about — fops and abb^s, and 
friars, and government clerks and even very high and 
mighty grandees — laughing and congratulating them- 
selves when they hear that Napoleon is going to 
pocket Portugal \ it never strikes them that the French- 
man has an eye on a morsel of Spain which would not 
come amiss to fill his maw." 

" Still as they say there is no crime the Choricero 

has not committed. . . ." 

♦ " Listen, boy," said he emphatically, as he felt the 

edge of the scissors with his finger, " I laugh at all the 

things I hear said about him. Of course he is an am- 



bitious man who aims at nothing but getting rich, but 
if he has risen to be Duke, General, Prince and Minis- 
ter, whose fault is that but theirs who have given him 
all this without his deserving it? If they were to 
come and say to you, for instance : ' Gabriel, to-mor- 
row you shall be this, that and the other because it is 
our whim, and you need not scorch your eyebrows 
over learning Latin' — what would you say? You 
would say * All right — here I am.* " 

" You may be sure of that." 

'< And although this man is a great rascal and has 
done plenty of mischief, half of what they say is false. 
You must see that many turn upon him now who used 
to flatter him ; they know he must soon fall, and no 
one cares to stand in the shade of a rotten tree. It 
strikes me that we are going to see great events — Yes, 
Sir, great events. I say and I repeat that something 
that no one expects will come out of all this, and many 
who are now rubbing their hands with satisfaction will 
to-monow be blubbering and crying their eyes out ; so 
do you mark my words." 

This discourse, which seemed to me profoundly 
true, made me reflect ; and, as a man whose business it 
was to judge and choose men, I thought that the wise 
knife-grinder was worthy to fill an important post by 
my side when I should be Generalissimo, first Secretary 
of State, or three-tailed Bashaw, and held all the offices 
I looked to gain by the help and protection of the * 
divine Amaranta. 

" Well, what I hope for," said I " is that this won- 


derful Prince should make haste and come at once 
since he can settle everything just as it should be. Do 
not you agree with me ?'* 

" Listen to me, boy," said Chinitas in a hissing whis- 
per, " I am much deceived if the Heir apparent is good 
for much any way; however, this must be said no- 
where but here and between you and me, for if any 
one were to hear us it would rain hard on our heads. 
When her Highness the Princess of Asturias was 
alive, who is now in glory, Ferdinand was always said 
to be the enemy of the French and of Napoleon 
because the Corsican helped Godoy ; and now, on the 
contrary, the French are the best folks in the world 
and Napoleon as good as consecrated bread, only 
because he seems to be taking part with the Prince of 
Asturias. We are not a serious people, Gabrielillo; 
what I can plainly see is that the Heir has a great mind 
to be king before his father dies; and it even seems 
likely that the Canon of Toledo and other personages 
dry up his brains and would be capable of making a 
bad son of him if only they could afterwards appro- 
priate all the best appointments. These folks in high 
places are very ambitious, and when they talk so much 
of the good of the country what they really desire is 
power; bear that in mind. Though I never was 
taught to read and write, I have all my wits about me ; 
I know how to read a man, and for all that we may 
look like noodles ready to swallow all they tell us, we 
can often see further into a mile-stone than some wise- 
heads, and know what is coming very clearly. I tell 


you, we shall live to see great things, very great 
things ; do you just mark what I tell yoti." 

Thus spoke Chinitas. When I left him to make 
my way home I remember that, as I walked, I thought 
over the various discussions I had listened to that 
morning and the many opposite opinions I had heard 
on the same subject within a few days. Each one 
judged events by the light of his passions; and as I, 
in my youthful ignorance and misguided patriotism, 
could form no accurate idea of their importance, I 
thought it very right that the conqueror of the age 
should take possession of a small kingdom which, in 
my judgment, was only in the way. As to Godoy, 
there could be no doubt that every one sighed for his 
fall : merchants, nobles, courtiers, the people, the 
monks and even the doggerel poets — some with 
reason and some without ; some from a conviction of 
the favorite's incapacity, many from envy, and many 
because they believed confidently that we should be 
better off when we were governed by the Heir to the 
crown. It was strange that they all should prove to be 
mistaken as to the subsequent progress of events, hop- 
ing for an immediate settlement of all confusion; it 
was strange that the blind optimism of the majority 
should have prevented their perceiving what the knife- 
grinder's good sense and rough distrust could discern. 
I am constantly more and more convinced that Pacorro 
Chinitas was one of the most remarkable men of his 



I DO not know whether the conversations of that 
morning or some other cause led to a cooling of the 
enthusiasm with which I had begun the day. '< How 
crazy I have been!" said I to myself, "and what is 
quite certain is that Amaranta never saw anything in 
me but a lad willing to serve her better than others 

At the same time my curiosity was so lively that I 
could not keep myself occupied with anything nor re- 
main quiet anywhere. I could not even go to see 
In6s that day, and when I had done the work of the 
house I set out to keep my appointment. I dressed 
myself with the greatest care, devoting all the powers 
of my intelligence to achieve the end of making my 
person a pattern of all the graces and an epitome of all 
the perfections bestowed by Nature on youth. My 
morsel of looking-glass, which I pleaned for the occa- 
sion, flattered my vanity, confirming my impression 
that the page of La Gonzalez was not devoid of some 
agreeable features worthy to attract attention. This 
was the first time I had ever felt myself a coxcomb ; 
when I have recalled it since I have longed to box my 
own ears. 

I should have liked, on that occasion, to be wear- 
ing the richest, handsomest, most elegant and gorgeous 


attire that the tailors of our planet could have pro- 
duced; however, I had to content myself with my 
own humblest garb, and no bther adornment than 
cleanliness and the care with which I had dressed my 
hair. My clothes were indeed humble, but in spite of 
that I knew tha\ I was good-looking, and that my per- 
son and manner were prepossessing. Hence, after re- 
flecting a few minutes over some polite and insinuating 
phrases which I thought appropriate in reply to the 
condescension of the divinity, I considered myself fully 
prepared and set out without informing any one of my 

I reached the house in the Calle de Canizares 
where the Marquesa lived, the sister of the diplomate ; 
I asked for Dona Dolores, who soon appeared and, 
without saying a word, led me through several long^ 
dark corridors till we reached a very handsome room 
where she bid me wait. While I did so I heard from 
the adjoining room the voices of women talking and 
laughing and I thought, too, that I caught the harsh 
tones of the diplomate. 

Amaranta did not long keep me waiting. When I 
heard the sound of the door, when I saw the beautiful 
lady come in, when she approached me, smiling 
kindly, I felt as though some superior being was before 
me, and trembled with agitation. 

" You are punctual," she said. " Are you inclined 
to enter my service ?" ^ 

" Seiiora," I replied, utterly unable to recall any of 
^he speeches I had prepared, " I am only too happy to 


be at your orders for whatever you may command 

<^ I am greatly mistaken," said the lady, taking a 
seat near me, " if you are not a lad of good birth, the 
son of some noble family, and now in a position far 
beneath that to which you belong." 

" My father was a fisherman of Cadiz," I replied, 
feeling for the first time in my life my humble origin. 

" What a pity !" exclaimed Amaranta. " But never 
mmd, it does not matter. Pepa has told me that you 
fulfil any commission entrusted to you with great ex- 
actitude, and above all with great discretion ; that you 
are to the last degree methodical; she told me, too, that 
you have a good deal of imagination, and that you 
might in other circumstances be a very useful person." 

" My mistress is too kind," said I, trying to hide 
my proud satisfaction. 

" Well and good," my goddess went on. " You un- 
derstand that to be taken into my service on no recom- 
mendation but that of your merits is more than you 
could have hoped for. However, it seems to me that 
you have capabilities for the highest tasks and — I 
believe, too, that fortune will not fail to favor you. — 
Who knows what you may rise to ?" 

" Ah, indeed, Senora, who knows !" I exclaimed, un- 
able to contain my enthusiasm at these words. 

Amaranta was sitting, as I have said, just in front 
ot me ; her right liand played with a large locket that 
hung round her thi;9at, and the diamonds flashing a 
thousand sparks dazzled my eyes. My admiration and 


gratitude to this lady were so great that I know not 
how I avoided falling on my knees at her feet. 

" For the present I require nothing of you but ab- 
solute fidelity. I am in the habit of paying hand- 
somely when I am well served ; and I should do so to 
you more than to any one, for your loneliness in the 
world, your modesty and general propriety have 
greatly taken my fancy." 

" Seiiora," I cried in a fever of gratitude, " what re- 
turn can I make for such kindness ?" 

" Be faithful and perform my orders with exactitude." 

" I will be faithful unto death, Senora." 

"You isee, I do not require much. In return, 
Gabriel, I can do things for you that you never 
dreamed — never could dream of Others, with less 
merit than yours, have risen to unheard-of heights. 
Has it ever occurred to you that you might do the 
same if you found a hand to give the first impetus ?" 

"Yes, Senora; it has occurred to me, and the 
thought has almost turned my brain," I confessed. 
" Seeing that you had condescended to cast your eyes 
on me, I dared to believe that God had touched your 
kind heart and that I was about to receive at one 
stroke everything I had hitherto lacked in this world." 

" And you thought rightly," said Amaranta with a 
smile. "Your attachment to my person and your 
obedience to my orders will render you worthy of what 
you desire. — Now, listen. To-morrow I am going to 
the Escorial and you must come with me. Say 
dng of this to your mistress : I will make it my 


business to settle everything so that she shall consent 
to your change of place. Do not breathe to any one 
that you have been to see me — you understand ? By 
mid-day to-morrow you must be at my house ; you can 
travel thence by one of the coaches which are to start 
about noon. We shall stay at the Escorial but a few 
days, as we must come back to see the theatricals in 
this house ; and meanwhile you will return for a day or 
two to Pepa's service." 

" What, there again 1" I said in astonishment. 

" Yes ; you shall learn in due time all you have to 
do. Now you may go ; do not fail to-morrow." 

I promised punctuality and took my leave. She 
gave me her hand to kiss with such sweet condescen- 
sion that I felt an electric glow as I touched her fine 
white skin with my lips. Neither her manner, nor ha: 
looks, nor any detail of her demeanor were those of a 
mistress to her servant. She seemed rather to treat me 
as an equal, and I, blinded at once to everything but 
the vision called up by her patronage, shot off as it 
were into the sphere of attraction of this bright star 
that flooded my spirit with light and heat. 

I went out into the street again. To whom could 
I pour out my joy ? I at once remembered In^s and 
climbed the narrow stairs that led to her little room — 
for I forget whether I have mentioned that my good 
friends lodged in this same house. I found In6s in 
great trouble and on asking the reason I learnt that 
Dona Juana, whose health was giving way under in- 
cessant toil, had fallen ill. 


"In6s, dear little In^s," I began, finding myself 
alone v/ith her, " I want to talk to you. Do you know 
I am going away ?" 

" Where to ?'* she eagerly enquired. 

"To the Palace, to Court to seek my fortune. — Ah 
ha, little rogue ! You will not laugh at me now. You 
shall see what you shall see." 

" And what shall I see ?" 

" That the gates of fortune are open to me, pretty 
one. Do you remember what I was saying to you the 
other day ? I told you that it would be so, and you 
would not listen. But do not you see now that it has 
come about quite naturally ?" 

" What has come about ?" 

" That just as others have risen to the highest rank 
by no merit of their own, and simply because some 
great personage took a fancy to patronize them, there 
would be nothing extraordinary in something of the 
same kind happening to me, my lady." 

" That is very clear. Let me know when you have 
got up there. — So that by to-morrow we shall see you 
a general or a minister at least !" 

" Do not laugh at me. — To-morrow, no ; and yet 
— who knows ?" 

In6s began to laugh aloud, making me feel greatly 

" Come, come," said I with a gravity which, as I 
think of it now, makes me die with laughing. " Silly 
child 1 Do you not hear every day of your life of a 
man who was nothing and is now everything — a man 


who enlisted in the Spanish guards and between night 
and morning. . . ,** 

" Ho ho !" said In6s mocking me more cruelly than 
ever. " So that is how matters stand, Senor Gabriel ! 
How quiet you have kept it I May I know who the 
fair one is who has fallen in love with you ?" 

"Not to say in love with me — no, silly thing/' 
replied I. "And yet — you see. When one is not a 
perfect idiot — what would you have! Every one, 
even the most worthless, finds some one to fancy 
him. , . ." 

In6s did not cease laughing, but I was well aware 
that at my last words the poor child needed all her 
self-control to keep up an appearance of gaiety, and 
as her nature was little apt to dissimulate, she presently 
ceased laughing and became very serious. 

" Very good, respected Sir," said she making me a 
solemn curtsey. " Now we know what we are about." 

" There is nothing to be vexed at," said I, sitting 
down to recover from my excitement. " The long and 
short of it is that if any one cares to further my inter- 
ests there is nothing in that to turn my stomach. If 
only you knew her, In^silla ; if you could see what a 
woman, what a lady. — All I could say would be too 
little so I will say nothing!" 

" And this lady is in love with you ?" 

" Being in love is out of the question ; it is not that, 
child. I am to be her servant, and who knows what 
may come of it ? If you could see how she treats me ! 
— Like an equal, and she takes a great interest in me> 


and she is very rich, and she lives in a grand palace — 
not far off, and has numbers of servants, and she wears 
a loclcet round her neck with a diamond as large as an 
egg, and when she looks at you it is quite bewildering, 
and she is very handsome, and at Court she is as 
powerful as the king himself, and her name. . . ." 

I suddenly rememb^ed that Amaranta had for- 
bidden me to say anything of my interview and I was 

" Very good 1" said Infe. " I see that before long 
we shall see your highness as fine as the great Panjan- 
drum, covered with ribbons and laces, giving audience 
to humble folks — and enjoying the pleasure of hearing 
yourself called a thief, a busybody, a swindler, and 
everything that is bad." 

'^See what it is not to understand such things," 
cried I rather put out " What makes you think that 
every famous or powerful man is a rascal and a thief? 
No indeed, some are good men, too ; and in point of 
fact I . . . . Suppose, child, that by the deviPs arts I 
should become — do not laugh; we are all sons of 
Adam, and Napoleon Bonaparte is flesh and bones as 
I am. Suppose, then, I should become. — But do not 
laugh ; if you laugh I will not speak." 

" I will not laugh," said In6s controlling the mirth 
which had again come over her. " What you say is 
most reasonable. You have only to set about it. 
What difficulty is there in being a Generalissimo, Min- 
ister, Prince or Duke? None. What is the use of 
putting out your eyes with learning all the things you 


need to know in order to govern ? The water carriers, 
and the street porters, and the gardeners and the choir 
boys are utter fools not to go in a body to the Palace, 
knowing that they can secure a councillor's place and 
salary simply by a wink of the eye at some lady. And 
if they are not all soft-hearted a nudge of the elbow to 
one of the Palace kitchen wenches will do the job." 

" It is not that at all ; I see you do not understand," 
said I, not knowing how to explaui matters to In^s. 
''All you say about learning, and knowing how to 
govern, and the rest, has nothing to do with it. Of 
course it used be necessary to be learned in order to 
get on ; but now, you yourself, child, can see how it is. 
Not Godoy alone, but hundreds of others hold high 
offices who are not worth a straw as men. A little 
sharpness is all that is needed." 

" Come, Gabriel," said In^s laying down her sew- 
ing. " Things in this world are always rightly ordered. 
That much I know without any one to tell it me. 
The men who rule over others are placed there by 
birth, since the world is so ordered that kings are bom 
kings. When a man who was not bom in a royal 
cradle rises to govern the world it must be because 
God has given him a special talent, a heavenly some- 
thing that other men have not. Look at Napoleon 
who is now the Emperor of the world and master of I 
do not know how many millions of soldiers ; but it is 
because he has won it for himself, and because from a 
mere boy he has leamt all that could be known and 
his masters looked quite foolish seeing that he knew 


more than they did. And when these men have 
i;nounted so high without any merit of their own — 
either by good luck or by roguery, or by the favor of 
Icings — what do they do to stick in their high places ? 
They deceive the people, oppress the poor, enrich 
themselves, sell offices and play a thousand mean 
tricks. And much good it does them! Every one 
hates them, and only longs to see them dead and 
buried. Oh, Gabriel, I cannot think how you fail to 
see this, it is as clear as water !" 

But though it was as clear as water I did not xm- 
derstand it. Far from it ; I was so possessed, so dom* 
inated by vanity that the little milliner's sound sense to 
me seemed mere impertinent nonsense. My presump- 
tion carried me all the further because my conceit was 
wounded; I felt myself a perfect peacock — stretched 
my neck, spread my iridescent tail, and trampled the 
gentle dove with my ugly claws, like the insolent fool 
that I was. 

" In6s," said I " let us understand one another. I 
see that there are certain matters you cannot enter 
into. You are goodness itself, and for that I love and 
esteem you. For that reason never doubt that I shall 
henceforth do all that lies in my power to benefit you. 
You are very good ; still, I must own that you have 
limited capabilities. After all you are but a woman, 
and women ! — Beyond making stockings and setting 
the pots on the fire they know nothing at all. The 
business I am engaged in is not a matter for your poor 
little head. Only we men can really understand such 


things; we view them from a higher standpoint, be- 
cause, in short, we are cleverer. What you have said 
is not surprising, for what can you know about it? 
But you are a very good girl all the same ; and I love 
you, I love you dearly ; do not be vexed. You may 
be very sure that I shall never forget you." 

Reader, I can only beg you to cast aside all kind- 
ness for me. I know that justice is implacable; so 
since, happily for me, I am out of reach of your re- 
spected dutches, vent your wrath on the book, fling it 
away, trample on it with loathing — and yet, no. The 
book is innocent ; let it be, do not ill-use it ; it is not to 
blame. Its only crime is being the recipient on its im- 
conscious pages of all I have chosen to write there — 
good, bad, creditable or ridiculous, pathetic or foolish ; 
all I have dug out as materials for this history, pa- 
tiently excavating the rubbish heaps of my past life. 
If you meet with things to my discredit, mine they are 
— no less than what you may deem praiseworthy. 
You will have seen ere now that I have no ambition to 
figure as a hero of romance ; if I had wished to idealize 
myself, I could easily have done so by taking care to 
turn the key on all my follies and shortcomings, and 
setting before the public gaze nothing but what might 
show to my advantage, enhanced by pleasing inven- 
tions of which I have no lack in case of need. But, as 
I say, I have no desire to idealize myself; I know full 
well that I should add a hundred cubits to my stature 
in the eyes of many persons if I could represent myself 
as an audacious, quarrelsome and daring youth who at 


the age of sixteen had had time and the luck to kill a 
dozen of his fellow-creatures in duels, and bring dis- 
honor on an equal number of maids, wives, or widows, 
while escaping the pursuit of justice and the vengeance 
of jealous fathers and husbands. All this would be 
very pretty ; but, to quote Latin : sed nunc non erat his 
locus. I have not hesitated to prove my humility by 
reporting my conversation with In^s, venturing to hope 
that if my readers cannot admire me for my romantic 
qualities they may esteem me for my sincerity. So 
having made my peace I will take up my story where 
I left it. 

After spouting the speech I have recorded and a few 
more words equally prompted by my stupid vanity, I 
took leave of In6s, thinking I should do well to find an 
audience more on a level with the loftiness of my con- 
ceptions. In6s did not say another word to me, and I, 
tempted by the cheerful sounds of Don Celestino's 
flute, went to seek him in his room, where, with my 
hands behind my back^ and all the airs of a patron I 
began : 

" And how are things going with you, Senor ?" 

<<0h delightfully !'' said he with his unfailing op- 
timism. " I shall hav6 justice done me at last ; and, 
from what I heard this morning from the secretary's 
clerk, the week cannot pass without something coming 
of it." 

<< It seems to me that a benefice with a good in- 
come would not come amiss to you, or something of 
that kind. Say what it is to be, for, much as it may 


surprise you to hear it, perhaps there is. some one who 
can procure it for you." 

"Who, my boy, but my fellow-townsman, and friend, 
the Prince of Peace ?" 

" You may start a hare where you least look for it. 
We shall see, we shall see," said I, doing my utmost to 
give my face an expression of gravity and mystery. 

He was much puzzled, and I went back to In6s 
whom I could not bear to leave annoyed with me. To 
my great surprise the, girl showed no trace of vexation ; 
she spoke to me with that matchless equanimity which 
was at all times her chief charm. I bid her good-bye, 
assuring her that I would always remember her, and 
she was as sweet and affectionate as if nothing had 
gone wrong. Her mind, of which I did not then ap- 
preciate the loftiness and superiority, trusted with un- 
wavering faith in my return ere long. 

At two o'clock my mistress told me that she had 
agreed with Amaranta that I was to enter her service. 
I packed my few possessions and went off to my new 
mistress's house. There I was given a suit of livery 
and a place in the coach for the servants which fol- 
lowed that conveying the Marquesa and her brother. 
We took the road to the Escorial where we arrived 
after nightfall. 



As on our arrival at the Escorial we were startled 
by finding that some very important events had hap- 
pened, the reader will not think it superfluous that I 
should report what I had heard during the journey 
from the Marquesa's house-steward, for subsequent 
facts gave his words a prophetic meaning. 

" It strikes me," said he, " that something is going 
on at the Palace which will make a noise in the world. 
They said in Madrid this morning. — However, we 
shall soon know all there is to be known, for within 
three hours and a half, God willing, we shall cast 
anchor in the courtyard." 

** But what were they saying at Madrid ?" 

" In the city every one is for the Prince and hates 
the King and Queen ; and it seems that their Majesties 
have determined to quell the lad by keeping him 
always with them. I have seen that myself, and the 
Prince's face is enough to make you pity him. — They 
say his parents do not love him, which is a great 
shame ; and I have been assured that the King has not 
once taken him out hunting, and does not admit him 
to sit at his table nor show him any of the kindness 
that seems natural in a good father." 

** So that the Prince has become entangled in some 
conspiracy or plot ?" said I. 


"It may very well be. From what I heard last 
week at the Palace, the Prince has retired altogether 
from society ; he^ talks to no one and goes about like a 
man who sees visions, passing whole nights out of bed. 
The Court are greatly alarmed at this, and it seems 
they have set people to watch him till they have dis- 
covered what he has got in hand." 

"But I remember that I have heard say that the 
Prince is studious, and that he spends the night in 
translating from French or Latin, I forget which ex- 

"Yes; that is what is said at the Escorial; but, 
God knows ! — Some say that the Prince is plotting big 
things: that in marching his troops into Spain Na- 
poleon has nothing further from his thoughts than an 
attack on Portugal, but has sent them to support the 
Prince's party." 

" That is all talk. Perhaps poor young Ferdinand 
thinks of nothing but his books. ..." 

" But it seems that his translation lately met with 
his Papa's and Mamma's disapproval, for it related to 
some revolution ; so now he is doing something else ; 
as if it were not some rascally trick to secure the 
throne. . . ." 

Thus our talk ran, faster or slower, till we reached 
the Palace. The Marquesa and her brother got out of 
their carriage and we out of ours. As the two trav- 
ellers were to take up their abode in Amaranta's apart- 
ments in the Palace — she had arrived the day before 
— the steward at once led us thither, making us 


wander half the world over through stairs and cor- 
ridors, courtyards and passages. Everywhere there 
were signs that something unusual was going on in the 
royal building, for in all the halls and galleries there 
t\- were more people thsi/were generally about at so late 
an hour — ten o'clock at night. The Marquesa asked 
a few questions but received such vague replies that 
nothing could be made out from them. 

When we had reached my mistress's rooms I set to 
work to arrange everything we had brought with us in 
obedience to orders, and in a few minutes Amaranta 
came in, so much disturbed that she was obliged to 
wait a little while before she could get over her agita* 
tion so far as to explain what was happening. 

" Oh !" she exclaimed in reply to her imcle's and 
aunt's repeated enquiries. " Dreadful things are hap- 
pening! A conspiracy, a revolution! Had nothing 
taken place at Madrid before you came away ?" 

" No. All was quiet." 

"Well, here — things are in a fearful state; who 
knows whether we shall be alive to-morrow morning ?" 

" But my child, tell us the facts." 

" It seems that a plot has been discovered to assas- 
sinate the King and Queen ; everything was ready for 
a revolt in the Palace." 

"How frightful!" exclaimed the diplomate. "I 
was right in saying that numbers of Jacobins were con- 
cealed here under the guise of being his Majesty's ser- 

"This has nothing to do with the Jacobins," my 


mistress went on. ''The strangest thing is that the 
Prince of Asturias is the soul of the conspiracy." 

" It is impossible 1" said the Marquesa, who was de- 
voted to his Royal Highness. " The Prince is incap- 
able of such a crime. What I said is the exact truth : 
his enemies have plotted to ruin him by this calumny 
since they have failed to do so by other means." 

"Well, the rebellion they had planned was to be 
worse than the French Revolution they say," continued 
Amaranta. "It was hatched in the Prince's apart- 
ments and papers have been found. — They say that 
the canon Don Juan de Escoiquiz is implicated, the 
Duke del Infantado, the Count de Orgaz, and Pedro 
Collado, a water-carrier now in the Prince's service." 

"I think, my dear niece," said the Marquis, an- 
noyed to find that Amaranta was informed of things of 
which he knew nothing, " that you are allowing your 
lively imagination to run away with you. Perhaps all 
this is a matter of no real moment whatever, to be 
explained away by a reference to facts and by informa- 
tion of a strictly private nature which came to me from 
a quarter I am not at liberty to mention." 

"I can but tell you what was told to me. For 
some time past it has been observed that the Prince 
passed his evenings shut up alone in his own room 
where the King and Queen believed him to be engaged 
in translating a French book. But yesterday his 
Majesty found a sealed letter in his own room, with no 
address but the words : * Immediate, immediate, im- 
mediate ? — The King opened it and read this warn- 


ing, with no signature : * Beware ! a revolution is 
brewing in the palace. Peril to the throne ; the 
Queen Maria Louisa is to be poisoned.' 

"Merciful Saviour! Blessed Mary and Joseph!" 
cried the Marquesa who was a highly nervous woman 
and looked ready to faint. " What fiend of hell has 
found his way into the Escorial !" . 

"You may imagine the state of the poor King. 
The Prince was immediately suspected, and it was de- 
cided to seize his papers. They hesitated for some 
time as to how to proceed and at length the King 
determined to search his son's rooms himself. He 
went thither under pretext of seeking a volume of 
poems, and, as they say, Don Fernando was so much 
agitated at seeing him enter that his timid and embar- 
rassed glances guided the King to the spot where the 
papers were. His Majesty took possession of them all, 
and it seems that the father and son exchanged some 
rather strong words, after which Cirlos went out in 
high wrath, ordering the Prince to keep his room with- 
out seeing a soul. — This was yesterday. Later on 
Caballero, the minister, arrived and he and the King 
examined the papers. What passed at this conference 
is not known, but it must have been something serious, 
for the Queen withdrew in tears to her own rooms. 
Afterwards it was reported that the documents that had 
fallen into the King's hands contained a clue to fearful 
schemes, and from what Caballero said after his inter- 
view with their Majesties, Prince Ferdinand is to be 
condemned to death !" 


"To death!" qried the Marquesa. "But they 
must be gone mad ? Condemn a Prince of Asturias 
to death !" 

" There is nothing to be so concerned about," said 
the old man with his customary self-sufficiency. "I 
daresay the documents will be laid before us for our 
opinion on them, and we shall pass them under strict 
examination before deciding what is the right thing 
to be done." 

"But is it known what these papers contain?" 
asked the Marquesa. 

" So many reports are flying about the Palace that 
it is impossible to guess at the truth. The Queen said 
nothing to us, but she spent the whole night in bitter 
tears, bewailing her son's ingratitude. At the same 
time she says that she will not allow him to be prose- 
cuted, for that he is not to blame for what he has done 
but the two or three ambitious rogues who are about 

" Do not let us try to anticipate justice," said the 
Marquis. " I will investigate the matter, and I shall 
know whether it is a plot contrived against the Prince 
by his enemies or really and in fact a genuine conspir- 
acy. But when I have ascertained I beg yoU on no 
account to question me. You know my views. . . ." 

" It would seem that they have determined to have 
up a regular trial in order to prove who really are the 
guilty parties," Amaranta went on. " The Prince is to 
make a declaration to-night before the King." 

At this point of these interesting disclosures we 


heard a noise as of a crowd of people in some place 
close at hand. As there was not much for me to do in 
my mistress's rooms, and as curiosity called me forth, I 
went out and down a staircase which led me into a 
spacious tapestried hall, opening on both sides into 
others of equal extent, and decorated in the same 
manner. I went on through two or three roops, 
following the lead of several persons who were making 
their way to some particular spot; but I saw nothing 
worthy of note, beyond a few knots of palace at- 
tendants whispering together eagerly but mysteriously. 

I was proud of finding myself in the Palace, feeling 
as though the mere contact of the ground I was tread- 
ing gave me a fresh title to the consideration of the 
human race ; and as all in whose veins the generous 
Spanish blood flows are prone to foolish conceits, I 
could not help fancying myself really a person of 
importance, and only wished I could meet some of my 
old acquaintances of Madrid or Cadiz to show them by 
action and word the evidence of my high respectability. 
Happily I knew not a soul in all the multitude, and 
was saved from making myself ridiculous. 

The rooms where I now found myself were the long 
array of tapestried corridors which extend throughout 
the inner side of the Palace courts, and serve to con- 
nect the royal apartments which look out on the 
eastern side of the immense structure. I followed with 
the tide, never considering whether my feet might ven- 
ture here ; and as no one said me nay, I went on un- 
hesitatingly. The halls were but dimly lighted, and in 


the doubtful gleam the figures of the tapestry looked 
like shadows clinging to the walls or pale reflections 
c^t by a hidden flame on the dark background. As I 
walked I glanced at this crowd of mythological beings 
whose suggestive nakedness decorates the sombre walls 
built by Philip II., and was about to devote my atten- 
tion to them more curiously when a strange procession 
came by which I will attempt to describe. 

The Prince of Asturias, who had been formally 
indicted on a charge of conspiracy, was returning from 
the King's justice-chamber where he had made his 
declaration. I shall never forget the details of the 
melancholy retinue which passed before my astonished 
eyes and impressed me so vividly that it entirely de- 
prived me of sleep that night. First walked a gentle- 
man holding a large candlestick, as if to light the way, 
and to this end he carried it high up, though its feeble 
light only served to make the gold braid glitter on his 
court suit. Then came a small party of guards, and 
in their midst a youth whom I at once recognized, I 
know not how, as the Crown Prince. He was a well- 
built lad and ruddy, but his face was not a very pleas- 
ant one ; the thickness of his black eyebrows and the 
singular expression of his mouth and high nose were 
very unattractive, at least to my eyes. He kept his 
eyes fixed on the ground, and his anxious, gloomy face 
revealed the bitterness in his soul. By his side was a 
man of about sixty ; at first I did not understand that 
this could be King Carlos IV., for I had pictured 
him to myself as a feeble stunted little man ; however. 


as I saw him that night, he was of middle stature, 
thick-set with a small face and high color, and devoid 
of any single feature which could suggest a distinction 
stamped by Nature on his physiognomy between a 
KLing of blue blood and a respectable grocer. 

My interest centred more on the personages who 
accompanied the King than on his own royal person ; 
these, as I afterwards learnt, were the ministers and 
president of the Council, and I shall presently make 
the reader better acquainted with some of these illustri- 
ous gentlemen. The procession closed with a small 
detachment of the body-guard and that was all. 
While the little party went by sepulchral silence 
reigned all along, the way; their footsteps could be 
heard fainter and fainter, from room to room, till they 
reached his Highnesses apartments. As soon as the 
royal party had gone in then the buzz of talk began 
again, and I then saw Amaranta who had come out to 
look for me, and was speaking to an officer in uniform. 

^' I believe that in making l^is declaration his Royal 
Highness was somewhat disrespectful to the King,'^ 
said this gentleman. 

" So they have made him a prisoner ?" asked Amar- 
anta with some interest. 

"Yes, Seiiora. He will be detained in his own 
room under the eye of sentinels. — You see ; here they 
come again. They must have taken away his sword." 

The party were now returning without the Prince, 
preceded by the gentleman with the candlestick light- 
ing the way. When the King and his ministers had 


disappeared, the courtiers who had come out into the 
corridors also vanished into their several quarters, and 
for some time nothing was to be heard but the slam- 
ming of numberless doors. The few lights that had 
glinmiered in these vast precincts were soon extin- 
guished, and the graceful figures on the tapestry faded 
into darkness like ghosts scared by the crow of the 
cock to their unknown lurking place. 

I went up to our rooms after my mistress, and 
there I put my head out of one of the windows looking 
on the courtyard to reconnoitre the neighborhood, as 
was my custom. The night was very dark; I could 
see nothing but a black and shapeless mass, above 
which rose high roofs, domes, turrets, chimneys, walls, 
gables, buttresses and weather-cocks, standing against 
the sky like the rigging of a huge vessel. So imposing 
a structure struck a sort of awe into my soul, leading 
me to reflections that mingled with those suggested by 
what I had just seen. 

However, I had not time for long meditation; a 
soft rustle of petticoats, and low histy hist, addressed to 
me, made me turn my head and quit the window. The 
transition was a striking one from the gloomy scene 
without, for before me stood Amaranta with her celestial 
smile. All was absolutely still. The Marquis and his 
sister had retired to rest. Amaranta had exchanged 
her travelling dress for a soft white wrapper that added 
to her beauty — if her beauty could have been en- 
hanced. When she called to me her maid was still in 
the room ; but the damsel presently left us, and then 


our enchanting mistress herself locked the door leading 
to the corridor, and signed to me to approach. 


" Do not forget what you promised me," said Am- 
aranta, seating herself. " I trust to your fidelity and 
discretion. I have told you already that I believe you 
to be a gopd lad, and you will soon have an op- 
portunity of proving it." 

I cannot now recall all the vehement words in 
which I protested my devotion, but they were ardent I 
am sure and accompanied no doubt with much dra- 
matic gesture, for Amaranta laughed heartily, and ad- 
vised me to moderate my vehemence. Then she 
added : 

" And you do not pine to return to La Gonzalez ?" 

"Neither to her nor to any queen on ekrth," I 
cried. " While I live I hope never to quit the service 
of my beloved mistress whom I adore." 

If I remember rightly I fell on my knees by the 
arm-chair in which Amaranta was reclining with be- 
witching languor; but she desired me to rise, telling 
me that I must make up my mind to return to the 
house of my former mistress, though I should continue 
to serve the new one but in strict secrecy. This I 
thought both mysterious and incomprehensible, but I 


asked for no explanations for fear of seeming imperti- 

" So long as you do as I bid you," she went on, 
" you may be sure that all will go well with you. Who 
knows, Gabriel, but you may rise to be a personage of ^ 
importance and wealth ! Others, with less brains than 
you, have become of the first consequence in the 
course of a single day." 

" That is beyond a doubt, Senora, But I am of 
the humblest birth, ^ I have no parents, I have learnt 
nothing more than how to read — and that but badly, 
in books with letters as big as your fist ; I can hardly 
write a word but my own name and a flourish at the 
end of it, and in that I make more scratching out than 
all the scriveners of the law." 

" Then we must think about educating you : a man 
must improve himself. — I will imdertake the cost ; 
but only on condition of your serving me loyally — I 
cannot repeat that too often." 

" As to my loyalty no more need be said. But in- 
form me, pray, what are my duties to be in this new 
service," said I, longing to have my curiosity satisfied 
as to what I had to do to render myself worthy of so 
much liberahty. 

"Yes, I will tell you; it is a difficult and delicate 
task, but I trust to your intelligence." 

" I only crave to perform any task for you, however 
difficult or delicate," I replied, with all the eagerness of 
my effervescent zeal. " I will be not your servant but 


your slave, to obey you even if it should cost me my 

" There is no need to give your life," she said 
laughing. " A little precaution is all that is required ; 
and above all entire devotion, sacrificing everything to 
my wishes so as to be blind to everything but the duty 
of satisfying me ; then all will be easy." 

*' I am only impatient, dying to begin at once." 

" You shall be informed — only be less vehement. — 
I have several letters to write to-night, and now that I 
think of it, you can begin the work I require of you by 
answering various questions and giving me information 
I need before I write. — Tell me : Did Lesbia ever go 
to your mistress's house without me ?" 

I was disconcerted by a question which seemed to 
me as remote from the object of my endeavor as the 
sky from the earth. But I collected my thoughts and 
replied : 

" Sometimes, but not often." 

" And did you ever see her in the dressing-room of 
the theatre ?" 

"I really do not clearly remember; I could not 
swear that I had or that I had not seen her there." 

" It would not be strange if you had, for Lesbia 
does not think twice about going to such places," said 
Amaranta scornfully. After a pause during which she 
seemed to be lost in thought, she added : 

" She has no respect for the proprieties, and trusts 
to the charm she finds she can everywhere exert by her 


grace, sweetness and beauty — though, to be sure, her 
beauty is nothing remarkable !" 

" Nothing in the least remarkable," replied I, flat- 
tering my mistress's jealous rivalry. 

" Very well," said she, " I will talk to you at 
another time about this, and various oth/er matters that 
I wish to know. — The first thing I must impress upon 
you is absolute secrecy. I expect that you will be 
satisfied with me, and I with you — what do you 
think ? " 

"How can I ever repay you for so much kind- 
ness ?" I passionately exclaimed. " I believe I shall go 
mad, Seiiora — I am sure I shall go mad. I cannot 
help unburdening my heart by revealing to you the 
feelings that have filled it from the first moment when 
you condescended to set eyes on me. And now when 
you tell me that you are going to make a man of me 
and fit me to fill a respectable place in the world, I 
think that even if I were to spend a . thousand years 
adoring my benefactress I could make no due return 
for so many favors. I earnestly desire to become such 
a man as those I see about me here. Is it impossible ? 
Do you not think I might by educating myself with your 
kind help ? Alas ! when one is bom a beggar, without 
any rich relations, when one has grown up in misery 
and in the wretched position of a servant, it is impos- 
sible to rise to a higher but by the patronage of some 
charitable soul like yourself. But if I should achieve 
all I desire, I should not be the first, should I, Senora ? 
For there are many very rich and very powerful men 


here who owe their fortune and success to some noble 
lady who has held out her hand to them !" 

" Ah 1" exclaimed Amaranta kindly. " You are 
ambitious, my boy. But what you say is very true. 
We know men who have risen to unheard-of heights by 
the favor of a lady. Who knows whether you may 
have the same fortune ! It is very possible. To en- 
courage you in your hopes I will tell you a story. 
Once on a time, a very long while ago and in a very 
distant country, there was a vast empire governed 
quite peacefully by a sovereign devoid of all talent, but 
so benevolent that his subjects believed themselves 
quite happy under him, and loved him greatly. The 
Sultana was a woman of violent passions and a lively 
fancy, a character so diametrically opposite to her hus> 
band's that their union could not be completely happy. 
When he succeeded his father on the throne the Sultan 
was fifty years of age, and the Sultana was four and 
thirty. At this, time a young man joined the body* 
guard who was, to a certain extent, in the same pre-^ 
dicament as you are in, since, though he was not 
indeed of such humble birth nor yet bereft of all educa-^ 
tion, he was very poor, and could not hope to achieve 
a brilliant career without some assistance. Soon it was 
rumored in Court that the young soldier had gained 
the good graces of the Sultan's wife, and this suspicion 
was confirmed by his rapid advancement, till, at the age 
of five and twenty, he had gained every distinction 
that could be conferred on a subject. The Sultan, far 
from making objections to such rapid promotion, had 


set his affections, too, on the favored youth, and not sat- 
isfied with raising him to high honor he entrusted him 
with the reins of government, making him Grand! Vizier. 
The people, however, of that remote and ancient 
realm were much dissatisfied with this, and hated the 
youth and the Sultana. As Governor the young man 
did some good things; but the people forgot these and 
thought only of the bad ones, which were indeed many 
and such as to bring great disasters on that peaceful 
land. The Sultan, always blind to evil, could not 
understand the disaffection of his subjects; and the 
Sultana, though she understood it, could not always 
remedy it, being hindered by court intrigues. Every 
one detested the favorite, and among his bitterest 
enemies were the other members of the royal family. 
But the strangest part of the matter was that the man 
who had been raised by a hand as weak as it was 
generous was ungrateful to his protectress, and far 
from loving her with faithful constancy he devoted 
himself to other women, and at length actually ill- 
treated the hapless creature to whom he owed every- 
thing. The Ladies of the Court said that they had 
actually seen her shedding bitter tears, and bearing the 
marks of blows dealt her by violent hands." 

" What shameful ingratitude !" I exclaimed, unable 
to control my indignation. " And did God not punish 
this man, nor restore peace to that innocent people, nor 
open the eyes of the worthy Sultan ?" 

" All that I know not," replied Amaranta, nibbling 
the tip of the pen with which she was about to write, 



for I read the story in a very old book and I did not 
get quite to the end." 

" What wicked men there are in the world !" 

"You will never be such a one," said Amaranta 
smiling. " If one day you should find yourself raised 
to similar heights and by similar means, you wiU do all 
you can to efface the memory of your humble origin by 
the greatness of your actions." 

" If that should come about by some impossible 
luck," replied I, " I will act as you say, or I am not 
what I think myself; for my heart and soul aspire to 
govern without my being any the less a virtuous, 
respectable and generous man." 

This speech made her laugh; she promised to 
introduce me next day to a priest in the monastery 
who would instruct me, and then, sa3ang she had 
letters of urgent importance to write, she bid me go. 
The maid came to conduct me to the room where I 
was to sleep, and I went to bed at once; but the 
thoughts roused in my mind by this conversation so 
agitated me that my sleep was as disturbed and uneasy 
as some crushing nightmare ; I fancied that I lay with 
all the domes and towers, the roofs, gables and 
weather-cocks, the very stones of the enormous Palace 
weighing on my chest. 



Next day the whole party dined in Amaranta*s 
rooms : Lesbia, the Marquis, and his worthy sister. I 
have not said much about this good lady, who fills no 
important part in the events I have to relate ; but her 
character and excellent abilities deserve a detailed 
description. The Marquesa was a woman of advanced 
age, very ptoud, but simple in her habits, a Spaniard 
among Spaniards to the backbone, candid and devoid 
of artifice, very natural, very charitable, very sweet and 
kind to everybody : in short an honor to her class. 
Her weak side was a belief that her brother was a man 
of distinguished talent. Though very unpretending in 
private life, she loved giving grand entertainments, pre- 
ferring dramatic performances for which she had an ex- 
cessive liking. Her theatre was the best in all the 
court circle, and she had spent large sums on the per- 
formance of Othello. She patronized and was liberal 
to actors, but always kept them at a distance. 

On this occasion Don Juan de Manara was also in- 
vited to dine with my mistress, but when I went to 
carry the invitation he excused himself, as it would be 
his duty to be on guard at the dinner hour. And in 
speaking of this coxcomb I must not omit to mention 
that I had seen him that morning in Lesbians company, 
both of them dressed in a way which suggested that 


they had just returned from an early country walk such 
as lovers always sigh for. In the evening of the same 
day I again saw him, crossing the great courtyard with 
a crestfallen air, and next day he stopped me to beg 
that I would carry a note to the Duchess Lesbia. 
This I refused, and there left him. Beyond a doubt 
something was amiss with Serior de Manara. 

Amaranta was visibly disappointed at the yoimg 
man's absence from her table. When I returned with 
his reply I found a visitor in her boudoir, one of the 
gentlemen I had observed the night before in the 
retinue of the King. They talked together for more 
than an hour and a half; as he left I studied him care- 
fully, and certainly I have rarely seen a more unpleas- 
ant face. I should not mention him in my remin- 
iscences but that he was one of the most famous men 
of his time, and for this reason I must not only men- 
tion him, but describe him for the edification of this 
later generation. He was the Marquis Caballero^ 
Minister of Mercy and Justice. 

I never saw the man but this once, but I have 
never forgotten him. He was about fifty years of age, 
small and stout ; the glance of one eye was gloomy and 
perfidious, the other was blind; his face was purple 
and blotchy, like that of a man with whom his wine 
has disagreed ; his gait and manners were excessivel3r 
common, and his whole person was repulsive and 
mean to such a degree that unless he had had extraor- 
dinary talents it would be impossible to understand 
how, with such an ignoble figure, he could have risen 


to be minister. But not so Caballero was as con- 
temptible in character as in appearance; indeed, a 
body never more faithfullly represented the infamous 
sentiments and base ideas of a mean soul. Ignorant, 
stupid, his only talent a genius for intrigue, he was the 
very type of a sneaking and wily time-server ; while his 
whole knowledge consisted not in the principles of the 
law, but in its by-ways and windings, in its most slip- 
pery by-ways, so as to bring confusion into the simplest 
matters for his own ends. 

No one could account for his advancement, which 
was all the more extraordinary because the omnipotent 
Oodoy was not supposed to favor him; it probably 
was due to his having once found his way into the 
Palace and made himself useful, thanks to some vile 
back-stairs influence ; and he traded on his defence of 
the interests of the Church to promote his own with the 
Kmg. By flattering the bigotry of the miserable 
Carlos, painting imaginary dangers, and persuading 
him that the safety of the throne depended on the 
adoption of a stringent polidy in all matters ecclesiasti- 
cal, he succeeded in making himself indispensable at 
Court. Godoy himself could not turn him out of 
power nor set a limit to the measures dictated by the 
idiotic fanaticism of the Minister of Mercy and Justice 
who, after persecuting many of the noblest men of his 
time, and imprisoning Jovellanos, closed his* trium- 
phant career by helping to overthrow the Prince of 
Peace himself, in March, 1808. I have given this 
slight sketch of a man who was the object of general 


and well-merited antipathy that the reader may see 
that the elevation to high places of fools and base or 
commonplace men is not, as some think, a misfortmie 
peculiar to our own days. 

After this conference the dinner was announced 
and served by me. 

"I know," Amaranta began, as they sat down, 
making no attempt to conceal her purpose of mortify- 
ing Lesbia, " I know what was in the papers found in 
his Royal Highnesses room : Caballero told me, desir- 
ing me to keep it secret. But as it must be known 
before long. ..." 

"Yes, tell us!" exclaimed the Marquesa. '<We 
will repeat it to no one but our friends." 

" On the contrary ; in my opinion we ought not to 
be told," objected the diplomate, who was always 
much put out when any one revealed a secret which 
he did not know. 

" Among those papers," said Amaranta, '^ there is a 
report to the King which is supposed to have been 
drawn up by Don Juan Escoiquiz, though the writing 
is Ferdinand's. It seems that it describes the malprac- 
tices of the Prince of Peace in the grossest terms. The 
fact of his having two wives is strongly insisted on, and 
also the number of offices, pensions and livings he has 
given in return for. ..." 

"That is perfectly certain," exclaimed the Mar-> 
quesa. "I know of a man to whom the Prince of 
Peace offered. . . ." 

The good lady suddenly remembered that I was 


present, and she was silent. But a very ftw words 
always were enough for me, and I could catch a hint 
on the wing as it were. 

" In this document," Amaranta went on, " that 
poor woman Tud6 is very roughly handled ; the King 
is advised to shut her up somewhere. Finally he is 
recommended to turn out Godoy, to confiscate all his 
property-, and henceforth to keep the heir to the throne 
constantly at his father's side." 

"All that is very wise and reasonable," said the 
older lady, surprised to find that the ideas of the con- 
spirators coincided so nearly with her own; "but I 
should be careful how I said so outside this room." 

" But there is no risk in saying so here," Amaranta 
put in. " CabaUero is at no particular pains to keep 
the secret. I know he has told several persons. — 
Another of the papers is very amusing ; a sort of play. 
It is written in dialogue throughout, as though it were 
intended to be acted on the stage. All the personages 
who speak have names: the Prince is called Don 
AgustiHy the Queen Dona Felipa, the King Don 
DUgOy Godoy Don Nuno and the princess to whom 
they want to marry the Crown Prince is Dona Ptira.^^ 

" And what is the point of this farce ?" 

" It is the sketch of a conversation with the Queen ; 
she is supposed to make certain remarks, and every one 
replies in a way preconcerted to convince her of the 
rascality of the Prince of Peace. It is full of the 
coarsest language, and finally Don AgusHn appears 
and refuses point blank to marry Dona Fttraj who is 


the minuiter's sister-in-law and sister to the Cardinal 
and to La Chinchon." 

" That, too, is a good idea," observed the Marquesa, 
" and if the little piece could be played I would be the 
first to applaud Why in the worid should they want 
the poor boy to marry that fellow's sister-in-law ? 
Would it not be far better that he should look for a 
wife in some royal family, who would be sure to come 
forward gladly to ally itself with our sovereigns by 
giving a daughter in marriage to such a Prince ?" 

<< How can you venture to judge in matters of such 
importance ?" said the diplomate severely. " As to the 
documents in question, I can only wonder that so dis- 
creet a person as my niece should publish their con- 
tents so rashly." 

''Come, at first you doubted their existence, and 
now, though yqu think they ought not to be revealed, 
you accept them as authentic," 

" Certainly I do," rephed the old man. " Now, as 
others have chosen to betray secrets which I persever- 
ingly kept . . . ." Being unable to disprove these 
secrets he determined to appropriate them, and pre- 
tended to be already informed as to the documents in 
the case. 

" So that you really knew all about it ?" a;sked his 
sister. '' I said you could not fail to be informed on 
the matter. The fact is that nothing escapes you; 
you are one of those men of whom it may be said that 
they see a gnat on the horizon." 

"Unfortunately so it is," he replied with intense 


complacency. " Everything comes to my ears in spite 
of my reiterated determination never to interfere in 
anything, and avoid all state matters. What is to be 
done ! There is nothing for it but patience." 

'* You must I am sure know something more now^ 
and are concealing it/' said his sister. '^Come, tell 
us. Has Napoleon anything to. do with this busi- 
ness ?" 

" There you begin your catechizing !" said the Mar- 
quis with a coy smile. " Ask me no questions, for I 
swear they shall not lead me to utter a syllable. You 
know how inflexible I am in such matters.'' 

All through this Lesbia had not uttered a word. 

"To finish my story," said my mistress, "I have 
yet to tell you the contents of the third paper found 
about the Prince." 

"You had far better hold your tongue, my dear 
niece," said the Marquis. 

" No, no, I must tell you : They found the key to 
the cipher in which the Prince corresponds with his 
leader, Don Juan Escoiquiz, and others. That is the 
most serious part of the business." 

" Quite the most serious," said the old man. " And 
for that reason you should say nothing." 

" For that reason I should say everything. — Well, 
they found a note, without any address or signature or 
name, which speaks of a plan for laying these accusa- 
tions before the King through the medium of a confessor. 
The strangest thing in this paper is that the Prince de- 
clares that he has taken Saint Hermenegild, the martyr, 


for his model and is prepared to fight — do you hear 
that ? — to fight for justice. This is declaring plainly 
for a revolution. Then he goes on to beg the conspir- 
ators to support him firmly, to prepare proclamations, 
and to. ..." 

"Oh women, women! will you never learn pru- 
dence ?" interrupted the Marquis. " I am amazed at 
the lightness with which you can discuss such danger- 
ous subjects." 

"In this document," my mistress went on, not 
heeding her uncle's tiresome admonitions, " the sover- 
eigns and Godoy bear false names. Leovigild • stands 
for the King, the Queen is called Goswinda, and the 
Prince of Peace is Sisbert. Well and good ; then the 
Prince, assuming the part of Saint Hermenegild, tells 
his allies that the tempest is to fall on Sisbert and Gos- 
winda, while they contrive to amuse Leovigild with ac- 
clamations and applause." 

" And is that all ?" asked the Marquesa, " for 
nothing can be more innocent." 

" It is perfectly clear," cried Amaranta indignantly^ 
" that they aim at deposing the King." 

" I do not see it." 

"But I do," retorted my, mistress. "The tempest 
is to fall on Sisbert and Goswinda. So that the Crown 
Prince and his friends not only intend to send the 
guard about their business, but wish to do the Queen 
some mischief, perhaps even to drag her to the guUlo- 

* These names are borrowed from the early history of the Goths 
in Spain. 


tine like poor Marie Antoinette. — Every one knows 
how devoted' the King is to his wife. Any insult 
offered to her he will consider as offered to his own 

" Well, all I have to say is that if anything happens 
to them, it is no more than they, deserve," answered the 
elder lady. 

" And I maintain," Amaranta went on with rising 
anger, " that the Prince might have plotted as much as 
he liked to overthrow Godoy ; but that to write mani- 
festoes to the King and cast doubts on his mother's 
honor, and talk of bringing down a tempest on Sisbert 
and Goswinda — which is tantamount to aiming at the 
life of the Queen — seems to me unworthy of a Prince 
— a Spaniard or a Christian. After all, she is his 
mother, whatever her sins may have been — and I am 
convinced that they are neither so many nor so great 
as those of the man who proclaims them — it is not the 
part of a son to acknowledge them, much less to trade 
on them in order to persecute an enemy." 

"You are rather straitlaced, my dear," said her 
aunt, with some acrimony. " It seems to me that the 
Prince has acted very wisely and if you think of it, she 
would have done better not to give any cause for such 
proceedings, with some one we could all name. You, 
brother, who know all about it, give us your opinion." 

" My opinion ! Do you think it an easy matter to 
form an opinion on so knotty a question ? And even 
if I had one based on my own experience and judg- 
ment, do you think I could give it in a committee of 


women who will be off at once to repeat it in every 
drawing-room and anteroom to any one who will listen 
to them ?" 

" It is impossible to get a word out of you, brother. 
If I knew half of what you know I should enjoy giving 
information to the ignorant." 

" Facts are needed for forming an accurate judg- 
ment," said the Marquis. " Do you either of you 
know what the Queen thinks of all this ?*' 

"When the last document of which I spoke was 
read before the council," Amaranta resumed, " Cabal- 
lero said that the Prince might be condenmed to death 
on six indictments. The Queen was furious and ex- 
claimed : * Do you not consider that he is my son ? I 
will destroy the evidence against him ; he has been de- 
ceived and deluded to his ruin. . . .' She snatched the 
paper away and hid it in her bosom, and flung herself 
weeping into a chair. What magnanimity ! Candidly, 
though the Prince's cause has never been dear to me, 
since I have heard of his scheming against the King 
and Queen he seems to me a youth worthy only of 
contempt, if of no worse feeling." 

" What nonsense I" exclaimed her aunt. " Now we 
shall have her whimpering and whining after doing all 
this mischief. For could such things have happened if 
some follies had not been committed. . . . ?" 

Lesbia, who till now had remained silent with an 
air of confusion and dejection, could now no longer 
liold her peace and supported the elder lady's last re- 


mark. Amaranta turned on her and said in a tone of 
bitter scorn : 

" What a talk about follies which have nothing to 
do with the matter. That noble lady can never have 
expected to be publicly insulted, as she has been, and 
by those who have received favors at her hand, who 
have sat at her table and had the honor of her friend- 

" Not a bad littie sermon I declare !" cried Lesbia 
with the forced gaiety which is sometimes the most 
terrible expression of anger. " But I expected as 
much as soon as I should cease to show a certain 
degree of compliance, as soon as I should be tired of 
the part I allowed myself too easily to accept and 
which does not suit me ; I yield it to others who fill it 
to perfection, so I am blamed and supposed to be the 
traitress who has divulged what everybody knows. — 
Some people cannot make themselves seem victims of 
calumny however loudly they may bewail themselves, 
for their vices are too many and too great not to be 
commonly known." 

"Very true," replied Amaranta with intentional 
misapprehension. " There are plenty of living proofs 
of what you say. But remember, my dear, the black- 
est of vices is ingratitude." 

" Yes, but it is that on which men find it least easy 
to pronounce judgment." 

" Oh dear no ! It can be judged like any other, as 
we shall see before long. The Prince's plot is simply 


and purely a crowning act of ingratitude. And you 
will see how ingratitude can be punished." 

" I suppose," said Lesbia spitefully, " that you do 
not wish to see all of us here present sent to prison for 
having wished that the Prince may triumph." 

" I am not for putting any one in prison ; we may 
all of us live imdisturbed. But perhaps there is some 
one else who is not very safe — a person very dear to 
some not far off!" 

"Indeed!" exclaimed the old Marquis. "I was 
told that Maiiara was implicated in this aflfair." 

" I believe he is," said Amaranta ruthlessly. " How- 
ever, he has great confidence in the protection of cer- 
tain persons of high rank. But as those who are sus- 
pected seem to be really implicated, it is to be supposed 
that no kind of influence will be of any avail." 

"No doubt," said the Duchess. "It is hard for 
them. Still, we do not know yet what aspect the affair 
may take, or whether some unexpected occurrence 
may not suddenly turn the tables so that the accused 
may be the accusers." 

" Aye ! They trust to Napoleon !" said Amaranta 
with asperity. 

"Stay, stay!" exclaimed the Marquis. "You are 
venturing on dangerous ground, ladies." 

" Justice will be done," said my mistress, " if not as 
we may wish, for it will be impossible to discover the 
truth. For instance, it is very necessary to ascertain 
who it was that undertook to transmit the Prince's 
letters to the conspirators and at present this is quite 


unknown. It is suspected that it must have been one 
of the intriguing coquettes of whom there are many 
among the ladies in the Palace — one, has, in fact, 
been named, but there is no sufficient proof." 

Lesbia said not a word, but she smiled, the sly 
creature, as being for her part free from alarms. Then 
she was so bold as to mortify her foe by saying : 

" Perhaps if she is an intriguing coquette she may 
be able to laugh at her accusers. Circumstances may 
possibly put her in possession of the means of defying 
and annoying her enemies. — I should much like to 
know who this adventurous lady may be. Can you 
not tell us ?" 

" Not at present," replied nJy mistress. " To-mor- 
row, perhaps." 

Lesbia laughed loudly. Amaranta changed the 
subject; her aunt, however, continued to bewail the 
Prince's fate, and the Marquis to declare that nothing 
on earth should induce him to Hft the veil which 
shrouded the designs of the great Captain of the 
century ; herewith the meal was at an end, and all but 
my mistress retired to take a siesta. 


On the following day, October the 30th, great and 
agitating events took place, though it was hardly pos- 
sible that anything should add to the excitement we 


were all in. Early in the morning my mistress sent me- 
out, telling me to make a round of inspection of the 
Palace — the eighth wonder of the world, and at the 
same time to pay a visit to the cell of the good Father 
who was to instruct me in sacred and secular knowl- 
edge. Both ideas pleased me greatly, especially the 
liberty, of which I at once availed myself, to wander at* 
will through the Palace and the neighborhood. The 
first spectacle that rewarded my curiosity was the 
King's start to go hunting — a proceeding which as- 
tonished me greatly, since I fancied that his Majesty 
would be too much distressed and disturbed by what 
had occurred to be in the humor for such exciting pas- 
time. But I afterwards learnt that our good King was 
so devoted to it that even on the most momentous 
days of his life he never failed to gratify this his ruling, 
if not his only, passion. 

I saw him go out by the Northern gate, followed 
by two or three of his suite; he got into his carriage 
and set off for the hills as calmly as though he were 
leaving the Palace in absolute peace. His nature 
evidently was singularly placable, and his conscience 
clearer and purer than the morning air of the 
mountains. And yet, in spite of his lofty position and 
the peace of mind I so liberally endowed him with, I 
felt pity rather than envy as I watched the worthy old 
man. And my compassion was greater when I saw 
that the populace assembled round the gates made no 
display of affection for their sovereign ; nay, I fancied 
I heard murmurs and words of evil import from some 


of the groups such as I had hitherto never imagined 
could be applied to any ruler of our noble country. 

Then, wandering about the corridors and the lofty 
anterooms of the great building, I met the other mem- 
bers of the Royal Family and wondered to see that 
they all had the same drooping form of nose, charac- 
teristic of the Bourbon race. The first I had the 
opportunity of gazing at was Louis de Bourbon, Car- 
dinal de la Escala, since famous for having received 
the oath of the deputies in the Island of Leon, and for 
other less honorable achievements which will come to 
light in the course of these narratives. The Cardinal 
was not a solemn personage with the grey hairs of age 
and much study, nor did his face bear the stamp of 
austerity common to men who fill posts of so much 
difficulty ; on the contrary, he was a young man, not 
yet thirty — an age at which Lorenzana, Albomoz, 
Mendoza, Siliceo, and other luminaries of the Spanish 
Church had not quitted the Seminary. In fact it had 
been the custom to consecrate Cardinals of Royal 
blood at an age at which no Prince could rule a king- 
dom small or great, and in this respect Don Louis de 
Bourbon, cousin of King Carlos IV., was one of the 
most fortunate of mortals, for with the milk still on 
his lips he already enjoyed the revenues of the Bishop- 
ric of Seville, and before he had attained his twenty- 
third year, and fairly digested the Sentencias of Pedro 
Lombard©, he took possession of the See of Toledo 
whose fabulous wealth might well be an object of envy 
to any minor sovereign of Germany or Italy. But 



^* Everything in its turn and turnips at Advent " says 
the proverb. ^The state of things I have described was 
the custom of the time, and it is not fair to blame the 
Prince for taking what was given him. 

His eminence, as I saw him getting out of his car- 
riage in the vestibule of the Palace, was a high-colored 
young man with an expressionless face, a large droop- 
ing nose as like those of all his family as two fruits from 
the same tree, and of so insignificant an appearance 
that no one would have looked twice at him but that 
he wore the Cardinal's dress. He went up-stairs in 
great haste to the royal apartments and I saw him no 

But my good star, which destined me to make im- 
mediate acquaintance with all the royal family, led me 
that same day to meet the Prince Don Cirlos, second 
son of the King. The young man seemed about twenty, 
and he struck me as pleasanter-looking than his 
brother the Crown Prince. I gazed at him eagerly, for 
at that time I had an idea that the members of the 
royal family must have something in their faces to 
reveal their superiority ; however, I could find nothing 
of the kind in Don Cdrlos, who attracted my attention 
only by the brightness of his eyes and his merry little 
face. This prince altered greatly with years, both in 
face and in character. 

That evening, too, in the garden, I had a sight of 
Prince Don Francisco de Paula, a child who was play- 
ing and running about accompanied by several ladies; 
among these I saw my mistress. The little prince, 


jumping and frisking about in a complete suit of 
scarlet, made me laugh, and break through the deco- 
rous gravity which is quite indispensable in those who 
set foot in the precincts trodden by royalty. 

Before going down into the gardens my attention 
had been attracted by loud knocking in the lower 
rooms ; the knocking was succeeded by a soft sound of 
bagpipes played with such skill that all the. shepherds 
of Arcadia seemed to have assembled at the royal 
residence. On enquiry I was informed that all these 
dissimilar noises proceeded from the work-rooms of 
Prince Don Antonio Pascual, who was wont to spend 
his royal leisure alternately in amusing himself with 
carpentry or bookbinding, or cultivating the art of 
playing the bagpipes. I wondered that a Prince 
should labor at anything, and I was told that Don An- 
tonio Pascual, the youngest son of Cirlos IV., was the 
most industrious of the Infants of Spain since the death 
of Don Gabriel, who had been noted for his learning 
and his taste for the arts. When the royal carpenter 
and piper left his work-shop to take his daily walk in 
the garden attended by several of the worthy Hierony- 
mite fathers who waited upon him every afternoon, I 
had an opportimity of watching him at my leisure, and 
I may say that I never saw so good-natured a face. 
He was in the habit of bowing with equal solemnity 
and courtesy to every one he met, and I had the 
signal honor of winning a gracious look and a bend of 
the head that filled me with pride. 

As every one knows Don Antonio Pascual, who 


was subsequently famous for his expedition to the 
Valley of Jehoshaphat, looked kindness itself. I must 
own that at that time this prince, who was growing 
old, and whose face had no more distinction than that 
of any parish sexton, was of all the members of the 
royal family the one who seemed the most amiable. I 
discovered later how greatly I was mistaken in judging 
him to be the most benevolent of men. Marfa Luisa 
(of Parma, Queen of Spain) called him cruel, and she 
accurately foretold, in one of her letters, what actually 
happened on the Prince's return from Valencey, when 
he assembled in his room the flower of the indignant 
royalist party. 

This poor man, like his nephew Don Cirlos, took 
the part of Don Fernando, and heartily detested the 
Prince of Peace, but indeed, at that time, not a 
Spaniard loved Godoy, least of all the members of the 
royal family. But enough of this digression ; to return 
to my story. 

If I remember rightly I was about to mention a 
piece of news which gave an unexpected turn to 
events; but I did not mention what this was. It 
seems that at about one o'clock the royal captive, 
knowing that his father had gone out hunting, sent a 
message to the Queen, entreating her to come to his 
room where he would reveal to her some very im- 
portant matters. His mother refused; but she sent 
Marquis Caballero, who took down from the Prince's 
lips the declaration which I am about to communicate. 

You are not to suppose that this stupendous news 


was the common property of all the residents in the 
!Escorial. I came to know it because Amaranta dis- 
cussed everything with her uncle and his sister, and as 
from my youth and my appearing a mere heedless lad 
she supposed that I was too thoughtless to hear or un- 
derstand what was said, she exercised no caution as to 
speaking in my presence. 

From what she said I learnt that all the royal 
family were terrified out of their wits because, accord- 
ing to the Prince's latest revelations, it was known for 
certain that Napoleon himself was on the side of the 
conspirators, and that his troops were cautiously ad- 
vancing on Madrid to support the movement At the 
same time Fernando had denounced his accomplices, 
calling them perfidious and malignant ; and, from the 
hints he gave, the rumors which presently arose as to 
the scheme for attempting the Queen's life were not 
without foundation. With regard to the King, the 
Prince's adherents probably had no very benevolent in- 
tentions, for Ferdinand had appointed the Duke del 
Infantado commander-in-chief of all the forces on land 
and sea by a document which began with these words : 
*'It having pleased Almighty God to call to himself 
the soul of the King our father, — etc." 

All these details did not greatly strike my mind at 
the time, but having read since various accounts of this 
famous trial I can eke out my reminiscences so effectu- 
ally that the narrative is as real to me as though it 
were the oflfepring of memory only. What I do recol- 
lect is that Amaranta, alarmed by Bonaparte, took 


great pleasure in casting reflections on the Prince's 
baseness in so meanly denouncing his friends. Her 
aunt refused to believe this, and these discussions, 
which I do not record for fear of being tedious, lasted 
a long time. 

It was not yet dusk when the King returned from 
hunting, and about an hour and a half later a great 
stir in the ground floor of the palace announced the ar- 
rival of some important personage. I ran to the court- 
yard but could not see who it was, for the visitor had 
got out of his carriage in great haste and hurried up- 
stairs. All I could distinguish was a figure wrapped in 
an ample cloak like an invalid anxious to protect him- 
self from the cool air ; but it was impossible to see his 
features. <<It is he,'' said some servants who had 
joined me. 

" Who ?" I asked with eager curiosity. At this a 
kitchen-boy with whom I had established a certain in- 
timacy, as he was the functionary whose duty it was to 
serve me my meals, put his mouth close to my ear and 
said in a very low whisper : " El Choricero,** (Godoy). 

At a later date I had an opportunity of speaking to 
this illustrious personage ; but any description of him 
belongs to another book. 



I STAYED talking to my friend the scullion, not to 
lose so good an opportunity of establishing relations 
with the folk below stairs, and I asked my purveyor 
what was the general opinion in kitchen circles as 
to the events of the day. Fortunately it was getting 
towards supper time; my friend carried me oflf to the 
room used for that high feast, and there I could per- 
ceive that the corporation of cooks followed the 
comitry at large irf the groove traced by the Crown 
Prince's party. Nothing could be more patriotic or 
more enthusiastic than the attitude of this handful of 
brave souls, whose saucepans, so to speak, held the ap- 
petites of the royal house of Spain, and on whom its 
welfare — if not its very existence might be said to 
depend. Though many of the men I saw there were 
old and pacific retainers who took no part or interest 
in the refractory excitement of the more youthful 
attendants, the greater number had been dazzled by 
the grotesque and snarling eloquence of Pedro CoUado, 
formerly the water-carrier of the Fuente del Berroy who 
was now one of Femando's servants. This man, 
whose coarse unpolished talent had won a high place 
in the good graces of the heir apparent, filled the office 
of spy on all the lower grades of palace functionaries, 
keeping a watchful eye on the servants, who began by 


dreading him and ended by submissively obeying his 
orders. In this way Pedro CoUado became quite a 
chief among the cooks, scullions and lackeys ; like the 
tyrants who make themselves at once the leaders and 
scourges to small country villages in Spain. 

When Pedro CoUado was content, joy was diffused 
among all the servants like dew from heaven; when 
Pedro CoUado was silent and morose, a melancholy 
sUence took the place of mirth. When a man was in 
the water-carrier's black book he might commend him- 
self to the Almighty, whUe those who were so lucky as 
to merit his good graces or to forward his desires, 
might consider themselves started with one foot on the 
ladder to Fortune. • 

That evening was to me a very interesting one, for 
I was witness to the apprehension of Pedro CoUado, 
against whom some grave charge had come out during 
the preliminary enquiry. The Prince's minion was in 
the act of recounting to the choicest of his friends the 
experiences of the day, when an alguazil, follow ed by a 
handful of the palace-guard, came in to seize him. 
The water-carrier offered no resistance, but foUowed 
his captors with head erect and an insolent demeanor; 
he was led away to the common prison, since, by 
reason of his low birth, he could not be placed with the 
Dukes of San Cdrlos or del Infantado, who were con- 
fined in that part of the buildings known as the Novi- 

The apprehension of the water-carrier produced 

^stricken violence. This was presently broken by 


the words of command which, like those of the generals 
of an army, directed the strategy of the kitchen — a 
matter but little less elaborate than the conduct of a 
battle. A voice said : ^ 

'^ Supper for his Highness the Infant Don Antonio 
Pascual/' And instantly the richest soup that ever 
tempted the appetite of man was delivered into the 
hands of the servants who attended on that Prince. 
Next I heard: "The hot broth and poached egg for 
her Highness the Infanta Dona Maria Josefa." Then : 
**The chocolate for his Highness Prince Don Fran- 
cisco de Paula — " and each word of command was 
followed by a little bustle. There was a short lull till 
the head cook said in a solemn voice : " Is the roast 
fowl ready for his Eminence the Cardinal ?" Instantly 
all was stirring again and the roast fowl, with substan- 
tial additions, was despatched to the Archbishop's 
rooms. Finally a very portly personage in a laced 
uniform who rejoiced in the outlandish title of guarda- 
mangier (garde-manger)* appeared in the door-way, 
and fixing an eagle-eye on the army of cooks said: 
"Supper for his Majesty the King." 

The multiphcity of dishes was a thing to see, the 
variety of food prepared daily to satisfy the hearty ap- 
petite which the exercise of hunting never failed to 
give Don Carlos IV. Seeing that I could not take my 
eyes off this endless army of comestibles, of which the 
savory fumes alone were an invitation to eat, my 
ifriend the scullion said : 

* Literally Larder: superintendent of the King's table. 


"Be easy, Gabriel; we shall try some of those 
dishes presently. The King likes to see a great num- 
ber of dishes on his table, but he only tastes a morsel 
of each. Some come down just as they went up. — I 
am going to prepare the iced water." 

" What is the iced water for ?" I asked. " Who in- 
dulges in such unsubstantial nourishment ?" 

"The King," said he. "As soon as he has well 
filled his maw, he takes a glass of water as cold as 
snow itself; he has a roll off which he cuts the crust, 
soaks the crumb in the water and eats it. And he 
never takes anything after that." 

Some time after the King's supper had been served 
that of the Queen was carried up, and this difference of 
hour struck me so much that I asked my friend how it 
was that the King and Queen and their children did 
not all sup together. 

" Hush, simpleton," said he. " It would be impos- 
sible. In ordinary houses parents and children can all 
feed together; but not here. Do you not see, it 
would be a breach of etiquette? The Infants dine 
each in his own room; his Majesty in his, and the 
Queen in hers, each served by the guards. The 
Queen is the only person who could eat at the King's 
table, but, as you see, she is in the habit of taking her 
meals alone, for a reason I cannot mention." 

" Why ? Do tell me ? Is no one allowed to attend 
or be present ?" 

"Just so. She would not eat before a living soul; 
not if she were starving." 


" Not even her ladies ?" 

"No one ever sees her eat but a waiting-woman 
who attends on her. — I will tell you why," he added 
in a whisper. "You have seen what beautiful teeth 
the Queen shows when she smiles? Well, they are 
false, and as she has to take them out to eat, she does 
not like to be seen." 

" That is quite right. " 

My friend's information was quite correct. At that 
time the dentist's art was not sufficiently advanced to 
allow of mastication with false teeth, 

"You see," the scullion went on, "they are quite 
right in accusing the Queen of deceiving the people 
and trying to persuade them to believe the thing that is 
not. How can she expect her subjects to love a sov- 
ereign who wears other people's teeth ?" 

As it had not occurred to me that the duties of 
monarchs were the same as those of a stag hound, I 
did not agree with my friend ; however, on this point I 
was silent. 

Supper was subsequently served to his Highness 
the Prince of Peace and to the Councillors of State, 
and then I went up-stairs, thinking that it was time to 
carry my mistress hers. The hour was at hand when I 
might have the happiness of seeing her, speaking to 
her, and obeying her orders; of hovering round her — 
my clothes at any rate touching hers ; of rejoicing in 
her smiles and her glances. When I was away from 
her my imagination still lingered round the object of 
my adoration like a moth that incessantly flutters 



round the light which fascinates it. But much to my 
annoyance she did not this evening again condescend 
to give me the information I desired as to the service I 
was to do her. It was written that it should not be till 
the next evening. 

Though nothing had befallen me of any importance 
in the Palace, I was ever so little out of heart. Why ? 
I did not know. Once in my own room and stretched 
on my narrow bed, my mood kept me awake and I fell 
to reflecting on my position, on Amaranta's character 
which I began to think very strange, and on what kind 
of fortune might await me in her service. I remem- 
bered In6s, who I had thought of but little during 
these past days; and as the recollection of her re- 
freshed my spirit and disposed me to sleep, I felt — I 
know not whether it was a delusion of half-slumber— 
a throbbing in my breast caused by a rapid and pain- 
ful palpitation, as though the hand of some fond 
friend, insisting on entering whether or no, were knock- 
ing at the door of my heart. 


Next evening Amaranta called me into her room. 
She was in the same white dress as before. She made 
me sit down on a stool much lower than her own seat, 
so that there was but a short distance between her 


knees and my forehead. She laid her hand on my 
shoulder and said : 

"Now I must know whether I can trust you, 
Gabriel, to do what I require. Let us see whether 
your powers are on as high a level as I have given 
them credit for being." 

" Can you doubt it ?" I said with much emotion. 
" I cannot forget what you said to me the other night : 
That others, less deserving than I, had succeeded in 
scaling the top of Fortune's ladder." 

" Ah, poor child !" said she laughing. " I see you 
dneam of rising to unmeasured heights; but in that 
there is danger. Remember Icarus." 

I replied that I had never heard of that gentleman ; 
so she told me the tale and added : 

" The story I told you the other evening must not 
be your example, Gabriel. After what I told you I 
read further and can go on with the narrative." 

"You left off where the young officer whom the 
Sultana had raised to be Grand Vizier made such a bad 
return to his protectress; which seemed to me great 

" Very well. Then I read that the Sultana heartily 
repented of her imprudence and the young Janissary, 
now made Prince and generalissimo, was more hated 
every day. The Sultan went on, as blind as ever, not 
imderstanding the cause of his subjects* discontent 
She however, being a clever woman, saw clearly the 
storm which threatened to fall on the royal family. 
•Her ladies sometimes found her in tears ; then, unbur* 


dening her conscience to one of them, she confessed 
her repentance for the faults she had committed. But 
it seemed impossible now to remedy them ; the indig- 
nation of the people was unbomided, and a large and 
powerful party was formed, at the head of it her own 
son, with the purpose of dethroning the Sultan and his 
wife, nay, of killing them if their life should stand in 
the way of success." 

" And the Grand Vizier — what of him ?" 
" The Grand Vizier, being a man of small resource, 
did not know what part to take. The eyes of the 
nation were all fixed on the great Tamerlane, a famous 
Captain and conqueror, who had sent his troops into 
that country on their way to a small realm which he in- 
tended to conquer. In him they all believed they 
should find a deliverer, the father and son, the Sultana 
and the Grand Vizier; but as it was impossible that 
Tamerlane should favor them all equally and at once, 
it is quite certain that some one will find his mistake." 
" And finally who did this conquering hero help ?" 
" That is the end of the story which I have not yet 
read," replied Amaranta. " Still, I believe I shall soon 
know the issue and then I can tell you." 

" But what I say and repeat," said I, " is that if the 
Grand Vizier had governed the people well, as some 
one I know of would do, none of all this would have 
happened. If justice had been done according to 
God's law-— that is to say by punishing the wicked 
and rewarding the good — it is impossible that the em- 
pire should have come to such a disaster." 


" This does not matter to us just now," said my 
mistress. ** Let us go on to our own business." 

** Yes, Seiiora," I exclaimed eagerly, " what do all 
the empires in the world matter to us ?" • 

And as I spoke, fearing lest my words were far too 
cold an utterance of all I felt, I clasped my hands with 
as pathetic an air as I could command, and giving the 
reins to the ecstatic fervor which seethed in my brain I 
expressed it as well as 1 could in words, exclaiming : 

"Ah Seiiora Condesa! Not only do I reverence 
you as the humblest of your servants, but I adore you, 
I worship you — do not be angry with me for daring 
to tell you so. Send me away from you if it displeases 
you — though by doing so you would make me a 
miserable creature, for under no circumstances could I 
cease to be devoted to you." 

Amaranta laughed at my vehemence and said : 

"Very good — I appreciate your attachment. I 
see I may count upon you. As to your powers of 
mind, I believe they are good; Pepa praised your 
acuteness of observation. It seems that you have a 
wonderful memory for objects and faces, for conversa- 
tions you have heard, or whatever strikes your senses, 
and can recall them with extreme exactness. This, 
added to your secrecy, makes you a lad to be trusted. 
If to these talents you add such respect and affection 
for me that you are prepared to sacrifice everything to 
me, and never to reveal to a soul what I may require 
you to do in my service. . . ." 


" Reveal it ! — t, Senora ? Not even to my 
shadow, not to my parents if I had any, not to God. . ." 

" Besides," she added, fixing her eyes on me with a 
searching gaze, " you are^ a lad who can dissimulate 
your thoughts ?" 

" Perfectly well." 

"You observe keenly, you can make yourself 
familiar with all that surrounds you — and without 
exciting suspicion ?" 

" I am sure I can do all that. 

" Then the first thing you must do on our return to 
Madrid is to go back to your former mistress." 

" What ? to her again ?" 

" Silly boy ! that is not to say that you will cease to 
serve me. On the contrary, you must come home 
every evening and I must see you. You will still be in 
my service in fact though not in seeming, and I will 
reward you liberally." 

" So that I am to be the actress's servant only. . . .** 

" Only to divert suspicions." 

"Ah! capital! Yes, yes, I understand. So that 
no one can say. ..." 

" Just so. And in your mistress's house you must 
watch all that goes on, with the greatest attention — 
who comes in, who goes out, who calls in the evening, 
everything in short." 

"And to what end?" I asked somewhat discon- 
certed ; I could not imagine why I was to be made an 


" The end is no concern of yours," replied Ama- 
ranta. " Besides this — and this is most important — at 
the theatre you must keep a sharp watch over Isidoro 
Maiquez, and if at any time he gives you a love letter 
for your mistress, you must first bring it to me ; then, 
after having seen it, I will give it back to you." 

This proposal somewhat staggered me; fancying I 
could not have understood her mysterious instructions, 
I begged for an explanation. 

" Listen further," said she. " Lesbia continues on 
terms of intimacy with Isidoro though she loves an- 
other man, and I know that when she returns to 
Madrid they will agree to meet at the house of La 
Gonzalez. You must take note of all that goes on 
there; and if by your cleverness and sharpness you 
succeed in making yourself the go-between of their 
love affairs and, having done so, you keep me informed 
of everything, you will be doing me the greatest 
service I can desire and shall have no reason to repent 

" But, but," said I in utter confusion, " I do not 
know how I. . . ." 

" Nothing can be easier, silly boy. You go every 
evening to the theatre. Let the Duchess believe you 
to be a useful and discreet messenger; if necessary 
offer even to oblige her ; show Isidoro that you expect 
no reward for doing a secret errand, and they will both 
employ you as the messenger of their love-making. 
Then, when you have a passionate effusion from one 
or the other, bring it to me and the thing is done." 



"Seiiora," I exclaimed, still lost in astonishment, 
** what you require is beyond everything difficult." 

" Oh, what an idea ! Well, I like the boy's feel- 
ing. — And what about : * I love you, I adore you ?' — 
Are you gone silly ? What I am now telling you is not 
nearly all I shall require of you. You shall know the 
rest later; but if you cannot obey me in this, which is 
such a simple matter, how do you think I am to make 
a distinguished and powerful man of you ?" 

Still I believed that the part assigned to me by 
Amaranta to perform under her guidance could not be 
so base or so mean as her words seemed to indicate ; 
and still I asked for further instructions, which she was 
very ready to give me, leaving me utterly dumb- 
founded. But her demands had cast me down from 
the height of my pride to the deepest abyss of degrada- 
tion. However, it was impossible to make any pro- 
test; I was compelled to affect the most servile sub- 
mission to my mistress's commands. I myself had let 
myself be entangled in these meshes, and I must get 
out of them by finding my way cleverly through some 
hole in the net without attempting to rend it by vio- 

" But do you not think, Sefiora," said I, trying to 
put some order into my ideas, " that by doing this I 
shall lose the dignity which I have always heard 
should be maintained by those who aspire to an honor- 
able position in the world ?" 

" You do not know what you are talking about," 
she replied with a graceful toss of her pretty head. 


** On the contrary : the task I offer you will prove the 
very best school in which you can learn the art of get- 
ting on. Espionage will sharpen your wits, and you 
will soon be able to measure swords with the most 
dexterous. Did you think you could be a man of in- 
fluence without some practice in intrigue, in dissimula- 
tion, and in the art of reading men's hearts ?" 

" But Senora," said I, " what a horrible training." 

" It is true that you dissemble only to observe all 
that goes on ; and you can give an account of all you 
see in a surprising manner. This and other things I 
have noticed in you lead me to believe that you are a 
youth of parts. Do you not say that you are am- 
bitious ?" 

" Yes, Senora." 

" Well, the plan I propose to you is the only way 
to get on in a palace. Supposing that you carry out 
my instructions to my satisfaction — you will then 
come back to me and be my page. I live almost con- 
stantly in the Palace, so you see you will have oppor- 
tunities of distinguishing yourself. A page can find 
his way almost anywhere ; he is obliged to be gallant 
to the waiting-women and ladies*-maids of the ladies of 
the Court, and this enables him to learn the secrets of 
every one high and low. A page who can keep his 
eyes open, who, at the same time, can hold his tongue 
and show tact, and who has an attractive person, is a 
power of the first order in a palace." 

These arguments were so unanswerable that I had 
nothing to say. 


" How many men of high rank you may see here 
who began their career as pages! Caballero, now a 
Marquis and Minister of Justice, was a page, and so 
were several others. I will undertake to procure you 
a patent of nobility with which, backed by my in- 
fluence, you may enter the King's regiment of body- 
guards. That will be a new phase in your career. A 
page can hide behind a curtain to hear what is being 
said in the room ; a page may receive and carry mes- 
sages of the highest importance; a page may leam 
secrets of State through a ladies'-maid — but a guard 
can do much more, because his post is nearer the 
centre. If he also has the qualifications that are 
valuable in a page, his power is enormous : he can be 
on the very best terms with the ladies of the Court 
who are invariably chatterboxes ; he can make no end 
of fiiends wherever he goes by telling in one place 
what he heard in another, improving on his information 
and describing facts as best suits him. A guardsman 
has itideed an advantage which princes themselves 
have not, for while these know nothing beyond the 
palace they live in — which is the reason why hardly 
any king governs well — the soldier is equally familiar 
with the palace and the street, the folks outside as well 
as those within; and this more general knowledge 
enables him to make himself useful to all parties and to 
pull the wires of a vast number of springs. A man 
who knows what he is about here is more powerful 
than all the potentates on earth ; he can make his in- 
fluence silently felt to the uttermost ends of the king- 


dom without its ever being suspected by those who 
give themselves such airs, calling themselves ministers 
and councillors." 

" Sefiora 1" I exclaimed. " How different is all this 
from what I had imagined." 

" To you," she went on, " it may or may not seem 
good. But things are as we have foimd them ; and as 
it is not in our hands to reform them, they must go on 
in the old way." 

" Oh I confess my folly !" I exclaimed. " I confess 
that under the hallucination of my absurd fancy I have 
had mad and ridiculous thoughts, and to this day I 
fall into errors which are natural to my age and ignor- 
ance. It is quite true that I have dreamed that I, 
simple and 'foolish as I am — a mere nobody — njight 
imitate many others who have risen to undeserved 
prominence. I heard so much said about the good 
fortune of some simpletons that I said to myself: 
* Since all simpletons it would seem have good luck — ' 
But I always thought to achieve advancement by 
noble and honorable means. When I said to myself: 
*Who can prevent my becoming what others have 
become ? — But I will be different from them in so far 
as, if some day I am in power, I will use it to do good, 
rewarding virtue and punishing wickedness, doing 
everything in accordance with the laws of God, and 
the dictates of my own heart. I never dreamed of 
being a man of fortune in any other way; and if I 
ever thought of the necessity for doing wrong, I fancied 
it would not be anything that could dishonor me, but 


such as sending a challenge, loving a lady in secret 
and never telling any one, riding seven horses to death 
between this and Aranjuez to carry a flower, killing the 
Kmg*s enemies, or other things of that kind." 

"Ah! the days for all that are past," said Ama* 
ranta, smiling at my simplicity. " I see you have noble 
sentiments, but there is no demand for them now-a- 
days. Your scruples will vanish when you have been 
in my service a fortnight, and discern the advantage of 
living here. Besides, it will procure you by and bye 
the satisfaction of doing good to many who ask." 

« How ?" 

"Oh, quite easily. Only this week my waiting- 
woman has obtained two canonries, one living, and a 
place in the Office for the distribution of Church 

" What ?" cried I in the greatest amazement. " Do 
servants appoint Canons and officials ?" 

" No, silly boy. They are appointed by the Minis* 
ter ; but how can the Minister overlook my recommen- 
dation, and how can I neglect the application of a girl 
who does my liair so well ?" 

"A friend of mine," said I, "a most respectable 
man, has been petitioning for a very modest place 
these fourteen years and has not been able to get it." 

" Tell me his name and I will prove to you that 
even without suspecting it you have already begun to 
be an influential man." 

I mentioned the name of Padre Celestino del Mai- 


var and the appointment he prayed for, and she noted 
them on a sheet of paper. 

"Look there," she said, pointing to her letters, 
" I have so many affairs on my hands that I do not 
know how I can get through them all. The outside 
world see the Ministers overwhelmed with work and 
giving themselves all the airs of doing a great deal. 
Any one might suppose that these gentlemen, blazing 
in gold lace and vanity, are of some use beyond taking 
their enormous salaries. — Nothing of the kind. They 
are nothing more than blind machines and puppets 
moved by a power which the public never sees." 

" But the Prince of Peace; is he not more powerful 
than the King and Queen even ?" 

"Yes; but not so much so as he seems to be. 
The roots that hold him up are his real strength, and 
as they strike deep and into a fertile soil, while we 
never cease to feed them, the tree is leafy and green, 
and spreads its boughs abroad with great luxuriance. 
Godoy owes nothing to his own merit ; he owes every- 
thing to those who chose to give it ; and you can un- 
derstand that it would be easy to deprive him of it all 
at any moment. Do not let yourself be dazzled by the 
magnitude of those huge images which the vulgar ad- 
mire and envy: their power is maintained by silken 
cords which a woman's scissors can cut. When a man 
like Jovdlanos tries to enter here his feet are entangled 
in a thousand threads which are hung in his way, and 
he comes to the ground." 

"Senora," said I, oppressed by bitter anxiety, "I 


very much doubt whether I am clever enough to 
undertake the task you lay upon me." 

" I know that you will be. You will gain/ practice 
in the commission I have given you as regards La 
Gonzalez. Discover what I require, and then you can 
go on to fresh deeds. You must manage to make 
some one in the Palace take a fancy to you : first you 
must pretend that you are tired of my service — I will 
n:iake believe to dismiss you, and you will engage 
yourself to that other person, to whom you must oc- 
casionally speak ill of me that the plot may not be sus- 
pected. Meanwhile you must keep a sharp eye on all 
that takes place in the apartments of your other and 
apparent mistress, and tell everything to me — your 
real mistress as I shall still be, — your benefactress and 
ruling providence." 

I could not listen calmly to such a barefaced and 
cynical statement of this sort of intrigues, of which the 
Condesa was a perfect mistress and I her catechumen 
without any initial baptism. A clear voice within me 
protested against the base task proposed to me, and 
shame, while it brought the blood to my cheeks, filled 
me with confusion and embarrassment which prevented 
my tongue from uttering a refusal. But I rose and in a 
trembling voice made my excuses to the Countess, say- 
ing once more that I did not feel myself equal to the 
fulfilment of such difficult commissions. She laughed 
and only said : 

"This evening, though it is already so late, two 
persons are to meet here, in my room, who have had a 


quarrel and whom I am endeavoring to reconcile. 
They are to be left together, and I count upon you to 
remain hidden behind the curtain of my alcove, and 
after hearing everything to repeat it to me." 

" Senora," said ,1, "I have suddenly been seized 
with a violent headache, and if you would but allow 
me to go to bed I should thank you from my soul." 

"No," and she looked at her watch, "for as I 
myself must go out at once you must be on the watch 
here. I shall soon return." 

Having thus spoken she called her maid and asked 
for her cabriole — a sort of cloak at that time fashion- 
able ; the woman had two on her arm, and each of the 
women wrapping one about her, they hastily departed^ 
leaving me alone. 


My state of mind was quite indescribable. An icy 
chill struck to my heart as though a blade of the finest 
steel had pierced it. So great was the violent and 
rapid revulsion of feeling in my^ mind with regard to 
Amaranta that my whole being, finding its poles 
inverted, was shaken to its foundations like a planet 
Tyhose law of motion is suddenly reversed. Amaranta 
was not merely a cunning and intriguing woman ; she 
was intrigue incarnate; she was the very demon df 
palaces — that terrible spirit which makes History, 


with all her sense and dignity seem sometimes the 
genius of mystification and mistress of falsehood — that 
terrible spirit which has brought confusion on our race 
and made nations enemies — debasing monarchies and 
republics alike, and despotic governments no less than 
free ones. She was the incarnation of that hidden ma- 
chinery, of which the outer world knows nothing, but 
which reaches from the gates of a palace to the King's 
chambers, and on whose springs, worked by a himdred 
hands, depend honors, dignities, nay, life itself; the 
noble blood of armies, and the glory of nations. 
Greed, bribery, injustice, simony, arbitrary and licen- 
tious authority — Amaranta was . all these ; and yet 
how lovely! As beautiful as sin, or as the super- 
human fair ones by whom Satan tempted the chastity 
of the Fathers in the desert ; as beautiful as all the se- 
ductions which confound the judgment of weak man,, 
and as all the ideals which delusive fancy creates to 
figure on her brilliant stage when she intends to cheat 
us as completely as children who believe in the reality 
of the images in a magic show. 

A spark of light had dazzled me : I went closer and 
it burned me ; the sensation I felt was, if I may say so, 
as though my soul had been scorched. 

When the bewilderment in which my mistress had 
left me had somewhat diminished I was deeply indig- 
nant. Her very beauty, which now seemed terrible^ 
urged me to leave her : " I will not stay another day ; 
I am choking in this atmosphere, and these people 
frighten me !" I exclaimed, walking up and down the 


room and speaking aloud, as though there were any 
one to hear me. 

At this moment I heard the rustle of a dress at the 
door and the sound of women's voices. I thought my 
mistress had returned. The door opened, a lady came 
in ; not Amaranta. This lady, who, to judge from her 
elegant appearance, was of the highest rank, came 
towards me and asking with evident surprise : 

" And Amaranta ?" 

" She is out," I answered roughly. 

" Will she be here soon ?" she anxiously enquired^ 
as though my mistress's absence annoyed her greatly. 

" That is more than I can tell you. But now I re- 
member she said she would return shortly," replied I 
with a very ill will. 

The lady said no more and took a seat. I also sat 
down, supporting my head on my two hands. The 
reader must not be siuprised at my want of manners ; 
my mind was in such a state that I had suddenly taken 
a horror of all the inhabitants of the Palace, and I no 
longer regarded myself as Amaranta's servant. 

The lady, after waiting for some little time, imperi- 
ously demanded : 

** Do you know where Amaranta is ?" 

" I have said that I do not," answered I very 
angrily. "Do you suppose that I trouble myself 
about what does not concern me ?" 

" Go and look for her," said the lady, less as- 
tonished at my behavior than she well might ' have 


" It is not my business to go to look for any one. 
All that I care for is to go home again." I was indig* 
nant, furious, mad with rage ; this is the only way to 
account for my rude replies. 

" Are you not Amaranta's servant ?" 

" Yes no Well " 

" She is not in the habit of going out at this hour. 
Find out where she is and tell her to come at once," 
said the visitor who was evidently uneasy. 

" I have said already that I do not choose to go, 
that I will not go, as I am not the Condesa's servant," 
said I. "I am going home — to my own little home 
at Madrid. Do you want to speak with my mistress ? 
The^n look for her in the Palace. — Do they take me 
for a convent porter ?" 

The lady's anxiety gave way for, a moment to her 
surprise at my madness. She seemed greatly aston- 
ished at my manner of speech and rose to ring the bell. 

At this instant I looked at her attentively for the 
first time and saw what she was like. She was no 
longer young, past middle life indeed, though her age 
was well conceajed by the arts of the toilet which lent 
her a look of youth — the youth which vanishes at the 
age of about eight and forty. She was of middle 
height, and her slight and elegant Agure was dis- 
tinguished by the easy grace and lightness which, 
though it may sometimes be seen in a cottage, is as a 
rule peculiar to those who dwell in mansions. Her 
face was a good deal painted and not very attractive ; 
for though she had fine black eyes of wonderful sparkle 


and expression, her mouth spoilt it. It was one of 
those which sink in with advancing age, drawing the 
nose and chin together. It was no longer adorned 
with the fine, regular, pearly teeth which, twenty years 
before, had given it charm if not beauty. Her hands 
and arms, so far as they could be seen, were the best 
ornaments that years had left her, and the only graces 
that had survived the wreck of what had been great 
beauty. Nor was her dress noticeable; it was not 
rich, though elegant and suitable to the place and 

She was going forward, as I have said, to ring the 
bell, when before she had done so, the door opened 
and my mistress came in. She welcomed her visitor 
with evident pleasure and they took no further notice 
of me, excepting that she bid me leave them. I was 
going into the adjoining room, through which I could 
reach my own, when the contact of the curtain falling 
on my shoulder as I passed through the door, re- 
minded me of the forgotten orders given to me by Am- 
aranta to hide and listen. I stopped ; the hanging hid 
me completely; I could hear everything quite dis- 
tinctly. My intention was to go away and not commit 
an act which seemed to me so base ; but curiosity was 
strong within me, and I paused ; so true is it that our 
natural sinfulness is at times too .much for us. At the 
same time the animosity, indignation and disgust that 
possessed me impelled me to watch my mistress as she 
had desired me to watch others. 

" Did she not tell me to use my ears ?" said I to 


myself, rejoicing in my revenge. " Well, I am using 

The unknown lady had uttered man]P lamentable 
exclamations, and I even fancied that she was weep- 
ing. Presently raising her voice she said very anx- 
iously : '^ But Lesbia must not appear at the trial." 

" It will be very difficult to manage that since it is 
stated that it was she who conveyed the correspond- 
ence," replied my mistress. 

" But there must be some way," the lady went on. 
" Lesbia must positively not appear, nor make any de- 
position. I dare not say so to Caballero; but you 
who are so clever can do it." 

'^ Lesbia," said Amaranta, " is our most dangerous 
enemy. - To her mean nature the Prince's trial has 
been a pretext rather than a reason for being hostile to 
us. What horrible stories she tells, what absurd ones 
she invents! Her viper's tongue spares no one that 
has been her friend, and she has even turned against 
me of whom she relates dreadful things." 

" She will let out the old story," replied the older 
lady. "You committed a great blunder in telling her 
that secret of fifteen years since, which no one knew." 

" That is true," said my mistress thoughtfully. 

" Still, there is nothing to be afraid of, child," added 
the other. "The enormity and the number of the 
crimes they ascribe to us may serve as the counterpoise 
and expiation of those we really have committed ; for 
they are so trivial by comparison with what report tells 
that we hardly need think of them. — But Lesbia 



must not appear in any way. Tell Caballero this ; she 
may be apprehended to-morrow, and if she makes a de- 
position, she may revenge herself by giving terrible evi- 
dence against me.'' 

" She is no doubt possessed of dangerous secrets — 
or perhaps she has kept letters or other proofs ?" 

"Yes/* replied the unknown lady much agitated. 
^^ But you know everything — why do you ask ?" 

" Well then, though with the greatest regret, I will 
tell Caballero to keep her out of the trial. The hussy 
was boasting only yesterday that no one would lay 
hands on her." 

"We shall have another opportunity. Leave her 
alone for the present. Ah ! my want of foresight is 
severely punished. How could I be so foolish as to 
trust her ? How could I fail to discover the ^Iseness 
and baseness of her soul under the semblance of engag- 
ing geniality and gaiety ? I was such a fool as to be 
captivated by her charm; then her obliging way of 
serving me finally bewitched me and I gave myself to 
her body and soul. Do you remember when we three 
used to go out of the Palace together during that short 
time we spent in Madrid five years ago ? Well, I 
have since learnt that on one of those evenings she 
warned a certain person of the place we were going to 
that he might see me, and he did see me. . . . We 
suspected nothing; we had no idea that Lesbia was 
selling us, and it was not till a long time after that I 
discovered her treachery by a strange coincidence." 



"That stupid and presuming Manara has turned 
her head," said my mistress. 

" Do you know that the wretch has dared to say- 
that I was once in love with him, and that he would 
have nothing to say to me ? You saw all ? — As if I 
ever had thought of such a man, or even dreamed of 
noticing him! Oh, Amaranta, you are still young; 
you are in the full bloom of beauty; let this be a 
lesson to you. Every fault we commit is paid for 
afterwards in shame for a hundred thousand which we 
never committed, and which are imputed to us. And 
even our conscience is impotent to protest against 
these calumnies, because one grain of truth among a 
hundred lies utterly confounds us, and all the more if 
the accusation comes from our own children." 

As she spoke I fancied she was crying. After a 
short silence Amaranta spoke again. 

" That idiot Manara, who can talk of nothing but 
bulls and horses, has achieved the honor of captivating 
Lesbia ! — I-rike to like ! — It was he who induced her 
to plot with the Prince's party, and between them they 
agreed to transmit all the correspondence." 

" But did not you tell me," the unknown lady 
eagerly put in, " that Lesbia was carrying on an affair 
with Isidoro ?" 

" Yes," said my mistress. " But that passion was 
of very short duration; it was only an interregnum; 
Manara was never really deposed. Lesbia was in love 
with Isidoro out of sheer vanity and coquetry, and she 
keeps him in attendance. Isidoro is madly in love, 


and she amuses herself by keeping his passion burning 
and laughing at the poor actor's misery/' 

" And did it never occur to you that we might take 
advantage of these two strings to her bow ?" 

*^I should think so. Lesbia and Isidore may be 
seen at Pepita's house and at the theatre." 

*^ It might happen that Manara should find them 
together, and then. . . ." 

''No, I have a still better plan. What signifies 
Manara ? What I should like is to back myself with 
some letter or keepsake sent by Lesbia to one of her 
lovers, and to lay it before her husband — a gentleman 
who, if he came to know positively of her escapades, 
would set his house in order to a certainty, in spite of 
his misanthropy." 

<< No doubt," said the unknown, gradually rousing 
herself. " And what will you do ?" 

''That must depend on circumstances. Before 
long we return to Madrid ; for a performance of 
Othello is being got up at the Marquesa's house, in 
which Lesbia takes the part of Edelmira and Isidoro 
that of Othello, while the others are given to various 
young amateurs." 

" And when is this ?" 

"It is postponed for lack of an actor in a part 
which no one likes to take, as it is a very repulsive one. 
But I fancy that some one will soon be found and the 
performance will be no longer delayed. The Duke 
has promised to be present, and the meeting of all 
these people will greatly facilitate some ingenious 



scheme which will enable us to punish Lesbia as she 

" Oh, let us do it for Heaven's sake ! Her black 
ingratitude deserves no mercy. Do you know that it 
was she who accused me of wanting to assassinate 
Jovellanos ?" 

" Yes, I know." 

" Can you imagine such infamy 1" cried the lady, in 
a voice which betrayed how angry she was. " It is 
true that I detest that prig, whose fatuous conceit leads 
him to try to teach those who neither ask nor need ad- 
vice ; but I think he is sufficiently punished by being 
imprisoned in the castle of Bellver, and it never entered 
into my head to conceive of such dreadful crimes ; the 
mere idea horrifies me !" 

"Lesbia has worked so well to propagate the 
notion of the poisoning that every one believes in it," 
said Amaranta. "Ah, Seiiora, that woman must be 
well punished!" 

" Yes ; but not by including her in the trial. That 
will only do me an injury. Manuel warned me most 
impressively this evening; we must do what he bids us. 
Manuel on his part will do her all the harm in his 
power. As soon as he heard all the horrible things 
she tells about me he dismissed every one who had re- 
ceived an appointment through her recommendation. 
This proof of affection touched me deeply." 

" It would not be a bad thing if Manara were to 
feel the Generalissimo's iron hand." 

" No indeed ; and Manuel promises me to seek out 


some means of accusing him arid turning him out 
of the corps, as he did those other two who recognized 
us when we went in masks to the fSte of Santiago. — 
Oh Manuel neglects nothing; since we have made 
friends again by your mediation his amiability arid 
attentions to me are unlimited. There is no one in the 
world who understands me as he does, and he has the 
whole art of good manners even when he refuses a re- 
quest. At this very moment I am struggling with him 
for a mitre. . . ." 

" For my prot^g^ the chaplain of the Pinto nun- 
nery ?" 

" No. For an uncle of Gregorilla*s — the little 
one's * foster sister. You see she has taken it into her 
head that her uncle must be a Bishop, and really there 
is no earthly reason why he should not." 

" And the Prince objects ?" 

" Yes ; he says the man was a smuggler till he was 
ordained two years ago, and that he is a perfect dunce. 
He is right so far ; my man is not a Christian light in 
virtue of his learning. But dear me, when I look at 
others. . . . There is my cousin, for instance, the little 
Cardinal de la Escala** who knows no more Latin 
than we do, and if he were to be examined I do not 
believe he would get an exequatur as an acolyte." 

" But that appointment depends on Caballero," 
said Amaranta. " Does he, too, object ?" 

* Elchiquitin — the little one, meaning Don Francisco de Paula, 
the youngest son of Don Carlos IV. 

*♦ The Infant Don Louis de Bourbon, Archbishop of Toledo. 


" Caballero I no," said the lady laughing. " He, as 
you know, does nothing but what we tell him ; he is 
capable of making Lords of appeal out of markers 
from the bull ring if we ordered it. He is a capital 
fellow and does his duty with the docility that becomes 
a true minister. The poor man takes great interest in 
the welfare of the country." 

" Then he can give the mitre to Gregorilla's uncle 
without more ado." 

" No, Manuel refuses — and most positively I 
However, I have hit upon a way of compelling him to 
yield. Do you know how? Well I took advan- 
tage of the secret treaty with France which is to be 
signed at Fontainebleau within a few days. By that 
Manuel is to be given the sovereignty of Algarv^ ; we, 
however, have not decided on agreeing to the sub- 
division of Portugal, so I said to him : * If you do not 
make Gregorilla's uncle a Bishop we will not ratify the 
treaty, and you will not be King of Algarv^.' — He 
only laughed very much at my little plot, but at last — 
you will see : he will do what I want." 

"All the more so since these appointments will 
contribute to strengthen our party. Does he not 
know that the Prince's is stronger every day ?" 

" Oh Manuel is much worried," said the lady sadly, 
''and what is worse he is much disheartened. He says 
things cannot come to a good end, and has the most 
horrible anticipations All these events have de- 
pressed him greatly; he says: 'I have committed 
many blunders and the day of expiation is at hand.' 


But how good he is. Would you believe that he 
makes excuses for my son, saying that he has been 
misled and debased by the ambitious friends who are 
about him? Ah, my mother's heart is touched by 
this; but I cannot extenuate the Prince's deed. My 
son is a villain I" 

"And does he expect to tide over so many dan- 
gers ?" asked my mistress. 

"I do not know," was the melancholy reply. 
*^ Manuel is much disheartened as I tell you. Though 
he intends to punish the conspirators at once and to 
make an example of them, there is certainly some one 
at the head of all this who. . . " 

" Bonaparte no doubt ?" 

" No. I believe that Bonaparte will be on our side, 
although the Prince proclaims him his friend. On 
that point Manuel has set my mind at ease. If Bona- 
parte were to turn against us we would give him 
twenty or thirty thousand men to drive the French 
troops out of the country. This would be quite easy 
and hurt no one. What troubles us is something quite 
different : it is what is going on in Spain. According 
to Manuel's account the people are devoted to the 
Prince and think him a pattern of perfection, while 
they hate us — poor Cdrlos and me. It must be a lie ! 
— What have we done that they should hate us so ? 
But I may tell you honestly that I feel it keenly and 
am resolved not to go to Madrid for a long time. I 
declare I have a horror of Madrid." 

"I do not share your alarms," said Amaranta. 


"And I hope that when the conspirators have been 
punished such ill-weeds will not sprout again." 

" Manuel will labor unremittingly ; he told me so. 
But we must carefully avoid everything that may give 
rise to scandal and above all that may lead to an un- 
favorable verdict. It was for this that as soon as he 
arrived this evening Manuel came to entreat me to ar- 
range through you that everything relating to Lesbia 
should be suppressed at the trial, since she is possessed 
of terrible documents, and will take ample revenge in 
making her statements. You know she has a lively 
imagination and can invent the most extraordinary 
plots. After seeing Manuel I could not rest a mo- 
ment till I had spoken with you. Neither he nor I 
can mention the matter to Caballero : you must take 
him in hand and talk to him with your good judgment 
and tact. Oh ! I was forgetting. Caballero wishes for 
the Golden Fleece. Offer it him without hesitation; 
for though he is not the man to wear such a distinction^ 
there will be no objection to giving it to him if he de- 
serves it by his loyalty. Will you do all I ask you ?" 

" Yes, Madam. Fear nothing.** 

"Then I go away easy. 1 trust you now as I 
always have dbne," said the unknown lady rising. 

" Lesbia shall not be summoned to make her de- 
position. — But we shall find some opportunity yet of 
treating her as she deserves." 

" Then good-night, dear Amaranta," said the lady- 
kissing my mistress. " Thanks to you I can sleep in 
peace this night, and amid so many anxieties it is no 


small comfort to be able to tell them to a faithful friend 
who does all she can to diminish them." 

" Good-night, Madam." 

" It is very late. — Mercy ! how late !" 

As she spoke they went together to the door, and 
"^hen they opened it two other ladies appeared, with 
whom the unknown visitor departed after once more 
kissing my mistress. 

When Amaranta was alone again she came straight 
towards the spot where I was hidden. My first im- 
pulse was to steal away from my lurking-place and es- 
cape> but on second thoughts I decided I ought to 
wait for her. When she came in and saw me her am- 
azement was unbounded. 

" What Gabriel, you here ?" she exclaimed. 

" Yes Senora," I calmly replied, " I have begun to 
discharge the duties you entrusted to me." 

" What !" she cried angrily, " Have you had the 
audacity. — Have you heard ?" 

" Yes, Senora. I have very sharp ears. Did you 
not desire me to watch and observe ?" 

" Yes," she said with increasing wrath, " but not 
this. — Do you hear me ? I see you are much too 
sharp, and an excess of zeal may cost you dear." 

" Senora," said I very innocently, " I wish to begin 
acquiring information at once." 

" Well, well," she said controlling herself with an 
effort. " Now go. — But I warn you that if I reward 
those who serve me faithfully, I have also means of 
punishing the disloyal and treacherous. I say no 


more. If you are rash you will not forget me as long 
as you live. — Go." 


Next morning your humble servant rose in the 
worst possible temper. My first idea was to quit the 
Escorial as soon as possible. In order to think over 
the ways and means of carrying out such a good plan 
I went to walk in the cloisters of the Monastery, and 
there, as I considered my situation, my poor head 
grew hot as I turned over a thousand ideas which I 
may venture to impart to the judicious reader. 

Those who happen to have read the first record of 
my early life and to remember the chapter which re- 
lates my passive presence at the battle of Trafalgar, 
will recollect that on that great occasion as the immen- 
sity and importance of the action I beheld seemed to 
elevate the faculties of my soul the meaning of the idea 
of patriotism dawned on me with peculiar clearness. 
And now, when the disastrous collapse of so many 
ridiculous dreams was stirring my whole nature to its 
lowest depths, my character acquired through that hu- 
miliation a new possession of infinite value : the notion 
of Honor. 

What a flash of illumination ! I thought over all 
that Amaranta had said to me, and comparing her 
views with my own, her ideas with my thoughts ~ a 


medley of ingenuous vanity and honest conceit — I 
could not help feeling proud of myself. I could not 
help saying to myself: I am a man of honor, a man 
ivho feels an invincible repugnance to committing any 
l>ase action, any meanness which can degrade me in 
my own eyes ; besides, the idea that I could ever be 
an object of contempt to others makes my blood boil 
ivith rage, I wish, no doubt, to become a person of 
importance, but only by such means as may raise me 
in my own eyes as well as in those of others; for what 
should I care for the applause of a thousand fools if I 
scorned myself. It must be a grand and consoling 
thing if one lives to old age, to be always satisfied with 
one's own actions, and able to say at night, as I tuck 
myself in to keep out the cold : " I have done nothing 
to offend God or man; Gabriel, I am satisfied with 

I ought to explain that in my colloquies with my- 
self I always addressed myself as though I were some 
one else. 

The strangest thing is that while I was thinking of 
these things the image of my dear In6s floated con- 
stantly before my mind, and the recollection of her 
came hovering across my fancy, like those butterflies or 
birds which fly across on a gloomy day to bring us, as 
the common folk believe, some promise of good. 

My mind was in this state when Don Juan de 
Manara happened to come by, dressed in uniform. 
He stopped, and called me to him with an eagerness 
which showed that my presence there was nothing less 


than a godsend to him. It was the first time that he 
had asked any little service of me. 

" Gabriel,** said he, in a confidential tone as he 
took a gold coin out of his purse, " this is for you it 
you will do me the favor I am about to ask you." 

" Sir," said I, " provided that it is nothing that can 
affect my honor. ..." 

" What, a little neer-do-weel like you ! Do you talk 
of your honor ?" 

" Certainly, Seiior," said I greatly annoyed, " and 
only ask for an opportunity of proving it to you in any- 
way you please." 

"Well, I will give you one, for nothing can be 
more honorable than to do a service to a gentleman 
and a lady." 

"Tell me what I am to do," said I, earnestly- 
hoping that the possession of the doubloon that glittered 
before my eyes might be compatible with the dignity of 
a man like me. 

" Nothing more than this," said the handsome gal- 
lant, taking a letter out of his pocket: "Carry this 
note to the Seiiora Lesbia." 


" I see no objection," said I, reflecting that in my 
place as a servant I could not aggrieve my honor by 
conveying a love-letter. " Give me the note." 

" But? remember," he added as he gave it to me, 
" that if you do not succeed in this errand, or if this 
paper falls into any other hands, you will have reason 
to remember me as long as you live — if indeed there 


is any life left in you after all your bones have felt the 
weight of my hands." 

And as he spoke the young officer gripped my arm 
so as to convey his firm intention of carrying out his 
threat. I promised to fulfil his commission exactly ; so 
talking of this we reached the great courtyard of the 
Palace, where I was surprised to find a large number of 
people collected, and conspicuous among them some 
birds of ill-omen — officers of justice and the like. I 
"noticed that my companion changed color as he saw 
them, turning pale; I even fancied that I heard him 
mutter an execration against these black crows who 
had so unexpectedly risen up before our eyes. But I 
had no need to puzzle my brain to be satisfied that this 
sinister mob was no affair of mine; so, quitting the 
officer at the gate of the guards' quarters, I slipped the 
coin and the note into my pocket, and in four strides 
reached the top of the narrow stairs, making straight 
for Lesbia's room. 

I was at once admitted to her ladyship's presence. 
She was standing in the middle of the drawing-room 
and reading aloud with theatrical emphasis out of a 
stitched play-book these famous lines : 

** Everything is death to me ; 
All things combine to work my wretched end 
And all is dark confusion — Woe is me !" 

She was studying her part. As she saw me enter she 
ceased, and I had the pleasure of placing the note in 
her own hands, thinking the while : ** Who would 


^uess from that sweet face that you are one of the 
greatest rascals that ever made mischief in the world ?" 

As she read it I observed the slight blush and smile 
which added beauty to her lovely face. As she ended 
she said in an anxious tone : 

" Then you are not in Amaranta's service ?" 

" No, Senora ; I left her service this morning, and 
I am just off to Madrid.'' 

" Ah, that is well," she replied more calmly. 

I, meanwhile, could not help thinking again and ' 
again how delighted Amaranta would have been if I 
had been base enough to carry that letter to her. 
How soon had an opportunity offered of conducting 
myself as an honorable though humble servant ! 

Lesbia, finding an opening for abusing her friend 
said : 

"Amaranta is very hard and severe to her ser- 

" Oh no, Senora !" I exclaimed, enchanted to have 
another chance of displaying my chivalry, by refuting 
this reflection on the mistress who fed me. "The 
Condesa treats me very well; but I would rather not 
serve any longer in the Palace." 

" So you have parted from Amaranta ?" 
"Yes, for good. I shall start for Madrid before 

" And you would not like to enter my service ?" 
" I have made up my mind to learn a business." 
"So that you are free, independent of every one; 


you will not even go back to see your former mis- 
tress ?" 

'< I have taken leave of her ladyship, and do not 
think of seeing her again." 

The first statement was indeed false, but the second 
was true. Then, as I bowed low to depart, she de- 
tained me by saying : 

" Wait. I must answer the letter you brought me, 
and as you have no duty to engage you, you may 
carry it back." 

This gave me the pleasing hope that my capital 
would be increased by another doubloon ; so I waited, 
gazing at the pictures on the ceiling and the pattern of 
the hangings. When Lesbia had finished her note she 
sealed it carefully and placed it in my hand, desiring 
me to carry it without losing a moment. I did so; 
but what was my surprise when, on reaching the 
guards' quarters, I was met with the startling news that 
my employer, the young officer, had been taken pris- 
oner and was being led away between two of his own 
soldiers ! I trembled like a reed, fearing, that they 
might lay hands on me too ; for I knew that my insig- 
nificance was not enough to save me fi"om the guar- 
dians of the peace, who, in their anxiety to display their 
zeal, would gladly include as large a number of persons 
as possible in their voluminous reports. 

I was so rash, however, as to go into the guard- 
house out of curiosity, and in consequence became an 
object of attention to a man there, a frightful-looking 
creature with a hooked nose, a pair of green spectacles 


and very large teeth of the same color. He examined 
me narrowly and then said in the harshest and most 
disagreeable voice I had ever in my life heard : 

" This is the lad to whom the prisoner gave a letter 
just before he fell into the hands of justice." 

A cold sweat started out all over me as I heard 
him, and I turned with an air of unconcern to depart 
as quickly as possible ; but alas ! I had not gone two 
yards before I felt my shoulder clutched as it were 
with a hawk's talons, for I can give no other name to 
the lean, hard claws of the green-spectacled wretch 
into whose power I had fallen. My feeling was one of 
such terror that I never can forget it, for, finding my- 
self face to face with his hideous countenance, the 
glasses of his goggles — convex to counteract the con- 
cavity of the pupils — utterly confounded me while his 
igreen teeth, sharpened no doubt by voracity, looked as 
if waiting to devour me. 

" Do not be oflf in such a hurry, young gentleman,'' 
said he. "You may perhaps be more wanted here 
than elsewhere." 

" What can I do to serve you," said I mellifluously, 
for I understood that it was vain to give myself airs to 
this wolf. 

" That we shall see," he replied with a growl that 
made me commend myself to God. 

Meanwhile this bird of prey, with his horrid claws 
on my neck, led me away to an adjoining room, I try- 
ing to collect my faculties to consider whether by their 
combined forces I could find any means of escape from 


this terrible predicament. A moment's reflection en- 
abled me to make this hasty calculation : 

'< Gabriel, this is a critical moment. You will gain 
nothing by trying to defend yourself by force. If you 
attempt to escape you are lost. Still, if you cannot by 
some stroke of wit get out of the clutches of this rascal 
who will bury you aUve under a pile of stamped papers, 
you may as well make your last confession at once. 
At the same time you, at this minute, have a lady's 
honor in your hands; God only knows what she may 
have written in that ill-omened letter. So courage 
boy, be calm and see how you can get out of the 

Providence happily flashed a light into my brain at 
the very moment when the officer of justice seated 
himself on a bare bench and set me in front of him that 
I might answer his questions. I remembered having 
seen this brutal minion of the law in Amaranta's room ; 
he was proud of paying his servile respects to her, and 
this fact, with the other that my late mistress was no 
friend to the parties impugned by the present attainder, 
gave me the idea of a plan to enable me to escape from 
the monster. 

" So you go about carrying and fetching notes do 
you, you young rascal," he began, evidently enjoying 
his inquisitorial function, and looking forward with de- 
light to the reams of stamped paper with which he 
would overwhelm me. " Now, let us see to whom 
these letters are addressed and whether you make it 
your business to keep up a communication between the 


conspirators and the prisoners to mock at the proceed* 
ings of justice." 

" Seiior Licenciado," replied I recovering myself a 
little, " you do not know me, and no doubt you take 
me for one of the villains who fetch and carry papers 
for the prisoners in the Noviciado." 

"What?" he exclaimed triumphantly. "Are you 
sure that that is done ?" 

" Yes, Seiior," I said with growing courage. " You 
have only to go yourself as secretly as possible to the 
Court of Convalescents • and you will see them throw- 
ing letters out from the third floor of the Monastery 
by means of very long canes." 

" What is this that you tell me ?" 

" It is exactly as I say, and if you want to see it 
with your own eyes go there now yourself. This is the 
time the villains choose for their purpose, being the 
hour of siesta. You might give me something, too, for 
the information, since I have warned you on purpose 
to enable you to do good service to our beloved 

"But you yourself had a letter from the young 
officer, and if you do not give it up to me first and 
foremost we shall have an account to settle." 

" But your excellency is not aware then," said I, 
"that I am page to her distinguished ladyship the 
Condesa Amaranta in whose service I have been for 
some time — and, by the grace of God, in no small 
favor with her. She has said many a time that any 

* Patio de los Convalecientes. 


one who touches a hair of my head had better^ look out 
for his skin." 

The legal gentleman seemed to be collecting his 
thoughts, and as he had certainly seen me repeatedly 
in attendance on my mistress, his vicious expression be- 
cantie by degrees more placable. 

" The Seiior Licenciado," I went on, " is well aware 
that I am under the Condesa's protection, and as she 
has found me worthy of something better than a ser- 
vant's place, she intends to have me educated and to 
give me a place of trust. I have begun my studies 
with Padre Antolinez, and afterwards I am to go to the 
Pages' house, for it has been discovered that though 
poor I am -of noble birth, and descended in a direct 
line from some duke or marquis of the Chafarinas 

The Jack in office seemed much touched by these 
arguments which I poured out with the most audacious 
fluency. " And just now," I went on, " I was on my 
way to my mistress's rooms. She is waiting for me ; 
and when she hears that your worship has detained me 
she will be quite furious. For I may tell you, Seiior 
Licenciado, that my mistress sent me to wander about 
the corridors and courtyard to overhear what the pris- 
oners* partisans were saying, and she sets everything 
down in a book she keeps — a book as big as that 
bench. She means to find out a great deal about their 
evil doings, and is very glad of my help, for she says 
that she would not know half she does but for me. 
For instance, that about the canes, which no one else 



knows; and you may thank me for having told you 
before any one." 

" It is quite true," said he, ^ that you are under the 
Condesa's protection, for I remember now that I have 
heard it said on several occasions ; but I cannot under- 
stand how your mistress should be having a note from 
the Ensign." 

"That struck me, too," replied I, "because my 
mistress had said that the gentleman in question was 
one of the first who ought to be imprisoned. But look 
here, Senor : the note he gave me was for my mistress, 
and was to say that as he must soon fall into the hands 
of Justice he entreated the Condesa to intercede for 
him and procure his release." 

" Ah, Senor Manara 1 Rascal ! Rebel !" exclaimed 
the representative of human justice. " You hoped to 
evade our clutches by shielding yourself under the 
mantle of a person who displays the greatest zeal on 
the side of the King.** 

"But his wicked cunning will not avail him, my 
very dear Sir," cried I enthusiastically, " for my mis- 
tress tore up the letter with contempt and desired me 
to give him a verbal answer that she could do nothing 
for him." 

" And you were going to him ?" 

"Just so. I kpow that the Ensign would gain 
nothing — and I am glad of it, very glad. For I say : 
do not these villains want to deprive the King of his 
crown and the Queen of her life ? Let them all pay 


for ity they richly deserve the scaffold, and the Prince of 
Peace will not beat about the bush !" 

^'Very well," said he more benignly, though his 
suspicions were still alert '' We will go to your mis- 
tress togetho: and she can confirm your story." 

" She is at present with the Prince of Peace," said 
I. '' She wishes to recommend me to him that he may 
get me into the Pages' house. And if your worship 
delays you will miss seeing the conspirators throwing, 
the letters out of the window from the third floor in the 
Monastery. Do you go and verify that, and then you 
can go to my mistress who will expect you. She will 
then know you are coming and receive you kindly, for 
she esteems and appreciates you highly." 

" Indeed ? Have you ever heard her mention 
me ?" 

" Ever ? Say rather a hundred times. The other 
evening she was talking about you for above two hours 
with the Prince of Peace and Caballero." 

"Really?" said he, drawing his wrinkled mouth 
into a queer smile which displayed the whole uneven 
range of his green teeth. " And what did she say ?" 

" That all the evidence that had been gained on 
their side was owing to yoiur Worship's zeal, and much 
else that I will not repeat out of respect for your 

'* Speak out, boy, do not be a simpleton." 

"Well, she praised you highly, dwdling on your 
talent, your great learning and your ability to extract 
laws even from a speckled stone. Then she added 


that if they did not promote your Worship to be a 
Councillor in some high Court Cod would not forgive 

'^ She said that? I see you are a clever and know- 
ing lad. — Tell her ladyship that I shall wait upon her 
in a few minutes to consult her op some serious mat- 
ters. She will know how highly I value and esteem 
her. As for you, I fancied at first that the note you 
had to carry was for the Duchess Lesbia." 

<< What an idea ! I never go to her rooms; she 
and my mistress have quarrelled.'' 

" And as to-day," he went on, " that lady is to be 
apprehended — for it turns out that both she and the 
Duke her husband are implicated. . . ." 

" What ! put her in prison, too ?" I exclaimed. 

" Yes, her too ; my colleagues have gone up to tell 
her so. — So now, boy, go to your mistress and 
announce my visit presendy." 

I had never hoped to get away from the ferocious 
wretch, and I quitted the guard-house blessing Provi- 
dence fervently and highly delighted. with my strata- 
gem. My first impulse was to fly back to Lesbia, not 
only to restore the letter to her but to warn her that 
her liberty was in the greatest danger ; but as soon as 
I got out I saw that the officers of justice had tdready 
surrounded her lodgings. There was nothing for it but 
to fly from the Palace, where I ran great risk of falling 
into the hands of the dreadful lawyer when he should 
have discovered my preposterous lies after seeing my 
mistress. — " Feet," said I, " what are you made for ?" 


I flew up to my garret, collected and packed my 
clothes as best I might, and without taking leave of 
any one, I went out of the Palace and the Monastery 
detennined never to stop till I reached Madrid. 

In spite of my alarm I had no mind to start 
without food, so I supplied myself with a few neces- 
saries in the market-place and then set out, looking 
lound every minute and fancying the lawyer was be- 
hind me. I was not easy till the dome and turrets of 
that terrible Monastery were lost to view ; but after a 
few hours of quick walking I turned aside from the 
high-road, recruited my energies with bread and cheese 
and some grapes, happy to feel sure that for the mo- 
ment the representative of justice had not his hard 
clutch on my shoulder. 

In this interval of rest and reprieve I could laugh 
heartily as I remembered the lies I had told to save 
my skin; but my conscience had no gnawing of re- 
morse at having invented them so lavishly, for those 
fictions, which had done no one any harm, had been my 
only means of defence against a persecution as cruel as 
it was unjust. Difficulties sharpen the wits; and for 
my part, I may say that before I found myself in the 
predicament I have related I should have been quite 
incapable of inventing such fables. It is well said that 
circumstances make a man a fool or a wise-head, 
sharpening the dullest intelligence, or blinding those 
who fancied they saw clearest. 

Beyond Torrelodones I came up with some mu- 
leteers whOy for a small sum, allowed me to mount one 


of their beasts, and I thus reached Madrid yery com- 
fortably though at a late hour of the night 


As it was so late I thought I ought not to go to 
In^s till next day ; so I went to my first mistress, Pepita 
Gonzalez, who had not yet retired for the night and 
seemed to have no intention of doing so. She was 
much surprised to see me, and wanted to know at once 
what had happened to me and whether I had any news 
of Amaranta. She was also most anxious to know all 
about the great conspiracy, which, as she said, was the 
chief subject of interest in Madrid ; and when I had 
satisfied her curiosity on these and many other points^ 
she told me that she h^d received a letter from Lesbia 
announcing her intention of coming to town in a few 
days to give the finishing touches to the part of Edd- 

Though I was tired to death, and more inclined to 
go to bed than to talk, I told her the story of the letter 
and the melancholy fact of the Duchess's imprison- 
ment. Pepita, who was greatly grieved at the news, 
desired me to giv6 her the letter; this I refused, saying 
I should keep it till I could restore it to the hands of 
the person who had given it me. She seemed satisfied 
with my reply and we said no more on the subject. 1 
told her that I had made up my mind to learn a trade» 


and had left Aiiiaranta to return to the capital. I then 
went to bed, wishing to be up early in the morning to 
see ln6s; I need not say that I slept like a meal sack. 
I jumped up early next morning and my first experi- 
ence was one of great discomfiture, for when I was 
dressing I searched in all my clothes for Lesbia's 
letter and it was not to be found. There was not a 
comer of my pockets or in my small bundle which I 
did not turn inside out, but it was not there. I was 
greatly vexed, fearing that the note had fallen into 
hands that might make an ill use of it; then I enquired 
of my mistress whether she by any chance had picked 
up the luckless letter. The mischievous hussy gave a 
shout of laughter, and answered with the utmost impu- 

"I did not pick it up, Gabrielillo; but last night, 
while you were asleep, I went on tip-toe into your 
room and took the note out of your coat pocket. 
Here it is ; I have read it, and I would not give it up 
for anything." This made me furious. I claimed the 
letter, saying that my honor required me to return it to 
the owner without any one seeing the contents; but 
she only said that I had no honor to defend, and that 
as for the note she would never give it up, not if she 
had as many lashes as there were letters written in it. 
She proceeded indeed to read it to me, and to the best 
of my recollection it was as follows : 

*^ Beloved Juan : I forgive the insult, and the dis- 
tress you have caused me. But if you wish me to be- 


lieve in your repentance, prove it by coining to sup 
with me this evening in my room, when I will finally 
dissipate your groundless jealousy by impressing on 
you that I never loved and never could love Isidoro — 
that ill-bred and presumptuous actor, to whom I have 
only spoken now and then to amuse mysdf with his 
idiotic passion. Do not fail me or you will incur the 
anger of your Lesbia. P.S. Do not be afraid of being 
apprehended; they are more likely to lay hands on the 

Having read the letter Pepita hid it in her bosom, 
saying with much laughing and jesting that she would 
not part with it for ten thousand dollars. All my en- 
treaties were vain, and weary at last of imploring her, 
I went out, really dejected at this misadventure, but 
hoping to dissipate my annoyance by the sight of my 
poor In^s. I bent my steps thither, and at the end of 
the street, as I looked up at the balconies of the house, 
I said to myself: 

*' How far she is from dreaming that I am coming 
round the corner — that I am actually in this streetl 
She will be sitting behind the curtain, and though she 
need only just move a little w*ay to catch sight of me, 
she will never see me till I go in." 

When I got to the house however, and even before 
I was admitted, I understood that something serious 
was going forward ; for In^s did not come flying out to 
meet me in spite of my shouting loudly for her as I 
crossed the threshold. The first person to welcome me 


was Padre Celestino, with a face so strangely woeful 
that I could not ascribe his misery to hunger alone. 

"My son, you come in an evil hour," said he. 
*** We are in great trouble. My sister, poor Juana, is 

" But In6s ?" 

"She is well, but you may imagine the state the 
poor child is in with all the anxiety of the last few 
days. She never leaves her mother's side, and if this 
goes on much longer I fear God will take my little 
angel of a niece, too." 

" We always told the Seiiora Dona Juana that she 
ought not to work so hard." 

"What would you have, boy?" said he. "She 
kept the house going, for you see I have never had the 
benefice, or the chaplaincy, or the prebend, or the fel- 
lowship, or the priest's allowances that have been 
promised me, though I know that next week my 
petition will be attended to. Then I could find no 
publisher who would undertake to print my Latin 
poem, and that is how matters stand. I do not know 
what will become of us if my sister dies." 

As he spoke the poor old man's jaws opened with a 
tremendous yawn that betrayed how famished he was. 
The sight grieved me to the heart ; fortunately I had a 
little money from my wages, as well as Maiiara's 
doubloon, which allowed of my doing a friendly action. 
Putting my hand in my pocket I said : " Reverend Sir, 
in honor of the benefice you are to receive next week, 
let me invite you to a breakfast of chops." 


" 1 do not want any," said he with a little parade 
of the delicate feeling that characterized him. ** Be- 
sides, I do not wish to break into your savings. But if 
you fancy some meat, bring it here and we will cook it 
for you." 

I at once sent a neighbor for the meat, and while it 
was coming I could no longer control my impatience, 
but went indoors in search of In6s. I found her in the 
sitting-room* within reach of her mother who was sleep- 
ing soundly. 

" In^silla, In6silla, my sweetheart !" I cried running 
up to her and kissing her again and again. Her only 
answer was to point to the invalid and sign to me to 
make no noise. 

" Your mother will get well," I went on in a low 
voice. " Oh, In6s ! how much I have longed to see 
you. I have come to confess that I was an ass and 
that you are wiser than Solomon himself." 

In6s smiled at me with sweet serenity, as though 
she had known all along that I should make this con- 
fession at last. My poor little counsellor was pale 
with sleepless nights and overwork; but how much 
prettier I thought her now than the terrible Amaranta. 
Everything was changed; the balance of my mind was 

" You see, In6silla," said I kissing her hand, " you 
were perfectly right in all your prophecies. I have re- 
pented of my outrageous folly, and it has been my for- 
tune to be quickly undeceived. It is indeed true that 
we young fellows allow ourselves to be deluded by 


dreams and fancies. But it is not every one who has 
a good angel like you to teach him what he should 

** So that we shall not see you the commander-in- 
chief or the viceroy ?" said she, laughing at my follies. 

** No, little one. I am not for palaces now, nor 
for uniforms. If you could only see how hideous some 
things are when they are seen dose. The man who 
wishes to prosper in a palace must commit a thousand 
base actions against his honor — for I, too, know what 
honor means I assure you, Senorita. No, no; let us 
be quit of government and splendor. I have been an 
utter dolt, and your uncle speaks truly when he says 
that experience is a flame which gives no light unless it 
bums us. It has burnt me to the quick; but oh» 
child ! if you could see how much I have learnt ! — I 
will tdl you all about it." 

" And you are not going back again ?" 

''No, My Lady. I mean to stay here; I have a 

" Another plan ?" 

" Yes. But you will approve of this one, you little 
tease. I mean to learn a trade. Which do you think 
will be best ? Silversmith, cabinet-maker, office derk 
— whichever you think best. Anything rather than be 
a servant" ^ 

" This is talking sense." 

^* But beyond this I have another, a much better 
plan," said I, finding this t^te-k-t^te a very delightful 
one. ** Yes, sweetheart, I mean to marry you." 


The sick woman stirred a little, and In^ ^ymg to 
attend to her mother could not interrupt my vehement 
speech. •" I am sixteen," I went on, " and you are fif- 
teen so we have only to say the words. I will learn a 
business in which I shall soon be earning plenty of 
money which you will take care of for out wedding. 
You will see, you will see how well we shall get on. 
Will you, yes or no ?" 

" Gabriel," she said in a very low voice, " we are 
poor now; we shall be much poorer if I am left an or- 
phan. They will never give my uncle all he has 
waited for these fourteen years. What is to become of 
us ? You will earn nothing for some time to come, so 
do not dream of such madness." 

^'Foolish' child; in four years I shall have earned 
more than I weigh. And then, and then. — Mean- 
while we will come to an agreement It is not for 
nothing that God has gifted you with the wisdom of a 
Doctor of Divinity ; I know now that without you I am 
worthless and of no use in the world." 

"That is since you laughed at me for saying: 
* Gabriel, you are on the wrong road.* " 

" You were quite right, sweetheart. If you could 
see how strange is the heart of man, what mistakes he 
makes, and how little he knows even of the things that 
happen to him ! When I went away I thought I did 
not care for you, and while that lady kept me con- 
stantly dazzled I scarcely thought of you. But in 
truth I loved you, and I love you better than my life; 
only at times a cobweb, as it were, is flung over the 


eyes of our soul and we cannot see even what is going 
on actually in ourselves. At the same time, my darl- 
ing, your dear little face rose up before me as soon as I 
made up my mind not to give way to the whims of that 
horrible woman, but to seek my fortune as a man 
should, by honest means.'' 

The sick woman called her daughter and our sweet 
dialogue was interrupted. But, besides tiie pleasure I 
had enjoyed of talking to In6s, Heaven granted me al-> 
most as great a pleasure in seeing Padre Celestino eat* 
ing his cutlets ; in spite of his real want of them he 
would i^ot taste them without much affectation, as- 
sumed to save his dignity and honor. 

" I breakfasted quite lately, Gabriel," said he, " but 
if you insist. ..." 

While he was eating the conversation returned to 
the state of affairs at the Escorial, and he, not conceal- 
ing his attachment to Godoy, expressed himself frankly. 

" They cannot do better than get at the very roots 
of this plot," said he. " It is a pretty state of things 
when they stir people up against our beloved King and 
that worthy man the Prince of Peace, my friend and 
fellow-countryman and the protector of the needy." 

" But here, as well as there," replied I, " public 
feeling is in favor of Prince Ferdinand, and every one 
suspects Godoy of having hatched this plot to ruin 

" Ruffians, hars, scoundrels !" cried the priest in a 
rage. " What do they know about it ? If they only 
knew as I know the intrigues of Ferdinand's partisans I 


Depend upon it I will tell everything to the Prince of 
Peace when I go to thank him for my benefice — 
which, as the derk at the office told me, must be 
settled within^this next week* -— Ah 1 if you knew the 
canon Don Juan de Escoiquiz as I know him. He is 
regarded here as a paschal lamb for meekness ; but he is 
the veriest rascal that ever wore a priesf s robe. Who 
but he has prevented my having my benefice ? And. 
all because in a discussion we had at Saragoza, thir^- 
two years ago, on the theme of Utrum heie$9toHnam — 
I forget the rest — I left him far behind. From that 
time he has had a spite against me. When we have 
more leisure, Gabrielillo, I will tell you of the infamous 
tricks the Archdeacon of Alcariiz employed to quell the 
will of his pupil. Oh! I know some very queer 
stories. And he is the soul of this business ; he, you 
may be sure, plotted this shameful conspiracy ; he has 
been in treaty with the French ambassadcx:, M. de 
Beauhamais, to hand over half of Spain to Napoleon 
so that the hereditary Prince may be placed on the 
throne — yes, yes, Seiior." 

<' But you should hear what every one sa)rs," 
replied I. ^* And you would see how they laud Seik>r 
Escoiquiz to the skies, while a thousand evil things are 
said of the prime minister." 

" Envy, boy, all envy. The feet is that every one 
is asking him for allowances, prebends and offices, and 
as he can only give them to respectable men like my- 
self, the greater number grumble and complain — as 
you see. Can they deny that he has given us many 


^ood things ? He encourages education, he founded 
the seminary for the gentlemen pages, he patronizes 
botany, agrkultural schools, gardens of acclimatization ; 
he has prohibited burials in churches, and effected a 
number of useful reforms which, though criticized by 
the ignorant, are highly to be commended? And 
posterity will recognize the fact — When we have 
time I will tell you many things that will make you 
change your opinion, or at any rate time will. I know 
vary well that the people of Madrid would tear me in 
pieces if they heard me saying such things; but my 
dear fellow — * super omnia Veritas,*^ 

'* But," said I, '< to speak of other matters, I myself, 
just as you see me here, may have been instrumental 
in procuring you the litde benefice you hope for." 

" You ? What can you do ? Godoy wishes to do 
Bie a good turn; aye, and he will do it, without any 
need of recommendation. And on my word, my dear 
boy, if I do not get it soon, and if Juana dies, we shall 
fall on evil days — aye, very evil days indeed." 

'' But Dofia Juana has rich relations." 

^'Yes, Manso Requejo and his sister. Restituta, 
drapers in the Calle de la Sal. But you know what 
misers they are. They think a raisin and a half 
eAOugh to stuff a glutton. Never have they done a 
thing for their poor relations. Poor In^ does not owe 
them a rag." 

" What curmudgeons !" 

<' I knew that man Requejo when I first came to 
Madrid, fourteen years ago. Juana was already a 


widow, and In^s quite a little thing, and as sweet and 
lovable as she is to this day. Well, Juana's cousin, to 
whom I applied on one occasion to help them a little, 
said to me : 'I can do nothing for them ; Juana has 
disowned her relations, and as to In^silla I am almost 
certain she is no kith nor kin of mine. I have heard 
that she was a foundling whom Juana picked up to 
pass her oflf as her own child.' An excuse — a mere 
pretext to cover his avarice. I could say nothing to 
convince the wretch, and from that time I have never 
been near him again." 

"So that there is nothing to be hoped for from 
those people ?** 

" No more than if they had never existed." 

This gave me matter for reflection on the fate of 
this luckless family. I longed for the wealth of Croe- 
sus to pour into In6s* work-basket. At the same time 
I felt more keenly than ever that the prime necessity to 
an honest man was not to sell his conscience. I had 
no money — how was I to get it ? 

I returned to In6s, for I could not help expressing 
to her again and again my devoted affection; and 
after we had discussed matters a little longer I left the 
house, wondering by what device I could manage to 
convey to Padre Celestino, without hurting his dignity, 
the doubloon Maiiara had given me, and saying to my- 
self at every step : " Cursed money 1 Where are you 
to be found ?" 



As I went into the house La Gonzalez hurried to 
meet me, and I was struck with surprise at seeing her 
in such spirits — the wild spirits of a child that laughs, 
and cries, and smashes everything that comes in its 
way. My mistress began talking to me, as I will 
report, but at each sentence she broke off to sing some 
couplet or snatch of a tune out of the hundreds that 
enriched her stock of comedies. 

"What has happened to put you in such good 
spirits, Seiiorita ?" 

" I have had a letter from the Seiiora Marquesa," 
said she. " She is to arrive to-morrow to arrange the 
performance. I am to be the stage manager. 

'The egg wanted salt, 
And that demon the cat 
Upset the salt box.'" 

" Much good may it bring you," said I, " And 
what is Senora Lesbia's news ?" 

" They set her at liberty in half an hour, finding 
that there was nothing against her. Don Juan, too, is 
released. We shall have them here soon and the per- 
formance will not be put off. Delightful ! And I 
shall be manager. 



* Mother, oh what fun to see 
Two gypsies changing asses!'" 

" Then you are in luck," said I. 

" But there is one difficulty, Gabriel," she went on. 
" You know that not one of these gentlemen will take 
the part oiPesaro because it is such a disagreeable one. 
Perico Rincon, my partner, said he would play it if 
they would pay him a thousand reales ; but, just think, 
he has fallen ill with a cold on his lungs, and if the per- 
formance is to be on the 6th, I do not know how we 
shall manage it. Now, would you like to play the 
part ofi%ar^/" 

"I — I act ?" I exclaimed in alarm. " 1 do not 
wish to be an actor." 

'^ But as an amateur, silly boy ! and the honor of 
appearing on the boards in such a theatre as that of the 
Marquesa is so great that many a beau would give his 
eyes for the chance. And I am 'to be stage manager I 

*At home I*m called *Your ladyship — 
Your ladyship,* for I'm in love — 
In love with a lottery clerk.' 

So now, boy, you must learn your part. Though 
you are too young to look it, with a false beard and 
dressed up by me, if you take care to speak in a deep 
voice you will seem made for it. Besides, you must 
remember that the Marquesa has offered two thousand 
reales to all the paid actors who take part in this per- 


formance. Juanica, who plays Hermancia only has a 

* On San Pedro's eve 
I brought you a bough; 
By dawn it had bloomed 
Like a thousand May days.' 

■ 1 

Well, boy, will you or will you not ?" 

I could not but reflect that I should be extremely 
silly if I gave up the chance of earning this money^ 
which came in the very nick of time to be offered to 
In6s as a help in her troubles. At the same time I 
disliked the idea of being an actor, and still more that 
of finding myself again mixed up with persons for 
whom I had conceived no small repugnance. How- 
ever, after weighing the advantages and disadvantages, 
I finally decided on accepting. I must confess that 
the mischievous demon of vanity tried once more to 
assail my soul, setting before the eyes of my fancy the 
honor, glory and distinction that I should gain by mix- 
ing with such aristocratic folks in those splendid draw- 
ing-rooms, where it was not granted to all mortals to 
tread. Still, the principal inducement to accept the 
part was the premium offered, which to me was a fabu- 
lous sum, a dream of gold. 

Providence places these two thousand reales in my 
way ; that makes ten dollars, — and then another, and 
another ten — too many to count ! I should be a fool 
indeed not to pick them up. 


So I left my mistress singing a mongrel patois of 
French and Spanish : 

''Alons Madamasella 
asamble reanion 
d tour de la butella 
feran le rigodon — ** 

and went once more to see In6s, to whom I imparted 
my prospects of wealth, promising to make her a pres^ 
ent. I remained there some hours, saddened by the 
sight of poor Dona J nana, whose illness was rapidly in- 
creasing. As I went out into the street, passing by the 
great gates, I saw an enormous cart bringing painted 
scenes and other theatrical properties which had come,, 
as the porter told me, from Don Francisco Goya's 

" The performance is to be within the next three or 
four days," said he. " The Duchess is positively com- 
ing to play the part of Edelmira,^^ And I went home 
reflecting that I might perhaps achieve a dramatic tri- 
umph if I could only keep calm enough not to take 
fright in the presence of so distinguished a public. 

The rehearsals of my part began with much energy ; 
Isidoro himself giving me numerous lessons, and teach- 
ing me piece by piece to declaim the most difficult and 
important passages. Thus I came to know more than 
most people of this famous actor's violent and impetu- 
ous temper ; for if I did not learn sTpassage as quickly 
or as well as he wished, he would fly into a fury, call- 
ing me lazy, stupid, obstinate — not omitting othar 



even rougher and worse-sounding epithets. As 1 went 
through these rehearsals I learnt fully to appreciate a 
saying which was current among the actors of the 
Prince's theatre, to the effect that when acting with 
Maiquez it was necessary to do well ; and yet not too 
well, since the great actor was as much incensed by 
that as by mediocrity. 

By the end of two or three days I knew my part 
thoroughly, and made it my principal aim to declaim 
my parting speech with good effect when the Doge of 
Venice says to me : 

** Ulastrioas comrade of 6iir brave Othello." 

Then there was a full rehearsal, at which all were 
present excepting Lesbia, and I fancied I did not do 
badly. The performance need not be put off on my 
account, and on the 5th I could repeat my part from 
beginning to end without hesitating at a single line. 
According to Pepita the Duquesa had arrived from the 
Escorial on the evening of the 4th. 

" So that now nothing is wanting." 

." Nothing," said she with the effervescent glee 
which she had affected for some days past. " And I 
am stage manager !" And again she sang a snatch of 

At last the day came ; from early morning I was 
rushing hither and thither in quest of fifty things my 
mistress, the actress, required. Paints from the Calle 
del Desengano, dresses from the Calle de la tteina. 


cambrics and ribbons, cottons, muslins and figured 
handkerchiefs from Dona Ambrosia de los Linos «— all 
were in requisition to satisfy Pepita's caprices. I 
should mention that though she had nothing to do 
with the tragedy of Othello but as stage manager, she 
was to sing a pretty interlude between the acts ; and as 
a finale a little comedietta, called " Zurdillo's revenge," 
by Cruz, was also to be performed by her. While I 
was running about Madrid, executing her various com-' 
missions, I was still repeating the lines of I^sarc^s part ; 
when I was not quite sure of a word I took the copy 
out of my pocket and withdrawing into a gateway read 
it aloud, attracting the notice of the passers-by. 

In the course of my long walk about the city I ob- 
served that there was much disturbance. People were 
standing about in knots and talking vehemently, and m 
some of the groups I saw men reading a paper which I 
could at once see was the horrible Madrid Gazette^ 
In Dona Ambrosia's shop I met — wonder of won- 
ders ! — Don Lino Paniagua and Don Anatolio, the 
stationer from over the way, and they made no secret 
of their uneasiness at the events of the day. 

*'This unheard-of treachery is just what I .ex- 
pected,*' said the stationer, " it is easy to see the Chori'^ 
eero^s false hand in this proclamation." 

" But read us the proclamation itself," cried Dona 
Ambrosia, ^ though we may know without hearing it 
that Senor Godoy has played us some new trick." 

" It is only that they went to the Prince in prison," 
said the stationer, *' and putting a pistol to his breast^ 


forced him to write this recantation; ye$, Senores, for it 
is impossible that so chivabrous a youth *— so honorable 
and so intelligent as the son of our sovereigns, should 
have debased and humiliated himself to the point of 
asking pardon like a school-boy and so meanly accus- 
ing those who are his adherents." 

" But read it, read it, Don Anatolio." 

And Don Anatolio smoothed out the newspaper 
and in a magisterial voice read aloud the famous 
proclamation, of November 5th, beginning: <<The 
voice of nature disarms the hand of vengeance, and 
when youth appeals to mercy a loving father cannot 
refuse to listen, etc." The remarkable part of this 
document, which announced to the nation the Prince's 
repentance, was in the two letters written by him to the 
King and Queen, and which I may transcribe here 
without violating the rights of history to which they for 
ever belong. I remember them weU, their tone and 
language were so vivid and explicit The first was as 
follows : 

<< My dear Papa : I have sinned, and committed a 
crime against yovu* Majesty as my father and as my 
King. But I repent, and offer your Majesty my hum- 
blest obedience. Nothing should be done without your 
Majesty's knowledge, but I was taken unawares. I 
have denounced the guilty persons, and I beg your 
Majesty to forgive me for having lied the other even- 
ing, and to allow your dutiful son to kiss your Majesty's 
feet. Fernando." 


And this was the second 

" My dear Mamma ; I have repented of the great 
crime I have committed against my parents and sover- 
eigns, and with the deepest humihty I entreat your 
Majesty to intercede with Papa to allow his dutiful son 
to kiss his royal feet. Fernando." 

In these notes the unhappy Prince figured certainly 
as the most despicable of mortals, showing that he had 
no semblance even of dignity under misfortune, con- 
fessing himself a liar, and after denouncing the guilty, 
asking pardon of his Papa like a child of six who has 
broken a bowl. However, the worthy but credulous 
citizens of Madrid could not conceive that any evil 
could occur that was not caused by the villainy of the 
Prince of Peace, and even bad harvests, hail storms^ 
shipwrecks, yellow fever or whatever calamity Heaven 
might send on the Peninsula were attributed to the 
favorite. So that no one believed these letters to be a 
spontaneous utterance on the Prince's part, but on the 
contrary, a degrading confession wrung from him by 
his gaolers to make him ridiculous in the eyes of the 
whole nation. If this was the purpose of the King's 
party the effect produced was quite contrary to their 
intentions, for as soon as the proclamation was pub- 
lished the public took the prisoner's part and loaded 
the favorite with vehement abuse, supposing him to be 
the author not merely of the official document but also 
of the letters. 


** Does this need comment ?" said Don Anatolio, 
-flinging the paper on the counter. 

" What I should like," said Dona Ambrosia, " would 
be to listen through a key-hole to what Napoleon has 
to saiy to all this." 

" Oh, there is no need to listen to know that !" said 
Don Anatolio. " It is perfectly clear that he intends 
to depose the King and Queen and set our beloved 
Prince on the throne. Aye — and the good gentleman 
ivill do it, too, before the cock can crow." 

'^ How shameful !" exclaimed Don Lino Paniagua. 
^^ To think that such things should be said aloud and 
in public, where they may be overheard by persons at* 
tached to the Government !" 

" Fooh, pooh !" said the stationer. " My good 
friend, it is cried in the streets. Within a month there 
will be not a vestige left of the Choricero, no King and 
Queen, no rioting, no rascality — nor various other 
things which I will not mention out of respect for the 

" God grant you may be speaking with the gift of 
prophecy, Senor," said the shop- woman. " And may 
He soon move the heart of Bonaparte and send him to 
set matters right here in Spain." The priest Don Lino 
wanted to hear no more and went away ; I was soon 
served, and the two shopkeepers were left to settle the 
affairs of the country. I would not go home, however, 
without exchanging a few words with Pacorro Chinitas, 
who was at his accustomed corner sharpening knives 
|ind scissors. 


^' Welly Chinhas I" said I, '' it is a long time since 
we met. Folks seem very uneasy in these parts." 

^^Yes. The Gazette has some precious document 
in it this morning. I heard them reading it in the con- 
fectioner's shop, and they are all saying that the Chari" 
cero ought to be hung up by the heels." 

^' So it is supposed to be his writing then ?" 

'^ What do I care what is thought ?" said he sitting 
upright. ''What I think is that they are all rascals 
together, and if not let them come forward. They say 
the minister concocted these notes out of his own head 
and made the Prince sign them. But why did he sign 
them? Is he a mere boy to be set down to write 
copies? Is he not three and twenty? Well then, 
with three and twenty years on his shoulders he surely 
knows what he ought and what he ought not to sign." 

Chinitas' reasoning seemed to me incontrovertible 
good sense. 

" Though you can neither read nor write," said I, 
" it seems to me, Chinitas, that you are wiser than a 

'' And the shopkeepers and the monks, the dandies 
and the gentlefolks, the abb6s and the government 
clerks — all the people that go streaming by are full of 
enthusiasm in the belief that Napoleon is coming to 
set the Prince on the throne. Heaven preserve us !" 

"And you, illustrious knife-grinder, what is your 

" I believe that we shall be supreme fools if we 
trust Napoleon. That man — who has conquered all 


Europe in a twinkling of an eye — do you think he 
will not try to set his clutch on the finest country in the 
worlds* which Spain is — as soon as he sees that the 
sovereigns and princes who govern it are pulling each 
other's hair like street hussies ? He will say — and he 
will be right : — < As for these people, I can settle them 
with these regiments ' -r- and he has sent more than 
twenty thousand men into Spain. You will see, you 
will see, Gabrielillo ; it will be as I tell you. We shall 
see great things, and we shall do well to be prepared^ 
for there is no help for us in our rulers and we must do 
the best we can for ourselves." 

I knew later how much wisdom there was in this 
speech, the last I heard on the subject from Pacorro 
Chinitas. He alone foresaw the issue with a clear 
eye ; the hero of the century, on the other hand, know- 
ing Spain only through its royal personages, its minis- 
ters, and its dignitaries, thought he knew everything 
while he knew nothing. His misunderstanding of the 
country he came to conquer is easily explained; he 
knew, no doubt, all that was said by Doiia Ambrosia, 
the shopman, Padre Salmon and the like ; but then he 
did not hear what the knife-grinder had to say. 


Evening came at last and the performance at the 
Marquesa's was in active preparation. When I had 


left my mistress's boxes in the room set apart as her 
dressing-room, I went up to In^s' lodgings by the back 
staircase; I found her in great trouble, for the sick 
woman's sufferings had increased, and the poor gid 
was deeply anxious. I stayed as long as I could to 
<:omfort my dear In6s and her worthy unde; but at 
length I was obliged to leave them, and I went down 
to the Marquesa's residence in great distress of mind. 

I will describe these magnificent rooms, so that my 
Teaders may form an idea of their splendor on this 
great occasion. Don Francisco Goya had been com- 
missioned to decorate them, and I need waste no 
words in praising the work of so skilled a master. 
From the entrance to the saloon prepared for the per- 
formance the walls were hung with wreaths of artificial 
^lowers and festoons of evergreens, so admirably ar- 
ranged that nothing more beautiful could charm the 
eye. The lamps and candles had been artistically dis- 
posed to form garlands and festoons of various colors, 
and their light gave a fairy-like eflfect to the whole. 

The first room — from which modem fashion had 
not banished the magnificent tapestry, handed down 
from generation to generation with many conquered 
treasures — preserved its solemn aspect even under 
this splendid illumination; indeed, the lights lending 
unwonted reflections to the suits of armor with vizors 
down and lances poised, which stood in the comers 
like sentinels of iron, gave a delusive appearance of life 
iand motion to the bodies they might be fancied to con- 
tain. Some gay pictures of bull-fights varied the 


gloomy effect of others on whose dark canvas Pantoja 
de la Cruz or Sanchez Codlo had depicted, some 
two centuries since, a dozen or so of sombre and 
gloomy personages, the conquerors of half the world. 
In startling contrast with these gems of Spanish art, 
was the modem furniture, in the neo-dassic style lately 
introduced after the French revolution. I cannot ex- 
patiate on the Greek forms, the mythological groups, 
the figures of Hora or Neaera or Hermes which stood 
in academic attitudes on the tops of the docks, ov 
crouched at the feet of the candelabra, or bdow the 
handles of the flower vases. These various divinities, 
brilliantly gilt, reviving in our palaces the glories of 
ancient Olympus, did not harmonize with the airy free- 
dom of the bull-fighters and provincial dandies so 
abundantly represented by the brush or the loom in 
pictures or tapestry; however, most people did not 
seem to trouble themselves about this. 

The room in which the stage had been erected was 
brightest of all. Goya had painted an admirable drop 
scene and the fi-ame-work of the proscenium. The 
Apollo who sat in the middle striking a lyre— ^ or a 
guitar — figured as a dashing dandy while nine smart 
hussies standing round him showed by their attributes 
and attitudes that the great artist had meant them to 
represent the Muses. The group was really charming,, 
but at the same time it was the keenest and most hu- 
morous satire that Don Francisco Goya could aim at 
the world with his magic colors; even poor Pegasus- 
was caricatured as a heavy sorrel Andalusian, covered 


with common trappings, and prancing in the back- 
ground. Round the frame little doves sported with 
much grace, though disguised as children of the gutter. 
It was not the first time that the designer of Los 
Capfichos had had a laugh at Parnassus^ 

Leaving the reception-rooms I made my way 
behind the scenes where the bustle and confusion were 
so great that it was hardly possible to turn round. 
Different rooms had been assigned to the actors to 
dress in : one to Maiques and another to my mistress, 
while in a third all the other professional performers 
had to get ready, without distinction of sex. Lesbia 
had the Marquesa's dressing-room, and the two gentle- 
men amateurs dressed in the rooms of the master 
of the house. I believe I was the first to be ready, 
turning the light-hearted Gabrielillo into the gloomy 
Pharo — the lago of the one immortal version of the 
tragedy. I doubt whether the costume assigned to 
me belonged to any known period of history ; it was 
such as was commonly worn by inferior actors at thaf 
time. It would have done equally well for a page; 
however, the beard and moustache I assumed altered 
me so effectually that the tailors and dressers who were 
present said I should pass for the most violent and 
cruel traitor they had ever turned out. 

While the others were dressing I walked across the 
stage and amused myself by peeping through the eye- 
holes in the curtain at the brilliant audience who were 
filling the room. The first person I saw was young 
Manara, sitting in the front row close to the curtain. 


I then perceived that all, men and women alike, were 
gazing at the chief doorway, and parting to make way 
for some one who was just coming in and whose pres^ 
ence caused a sudden silence to fall on the chattering 
assembly, to be followed by a murmur of admiration. 
A haughty but exceedingly beautiful woman made her 
way to the centre returning the bows of her friends, 
male and female. She wore a white dress of one of the 
thin and clinging materials which were then fashion- 
able, and across her bosom was a long wreath of roses, 
known as a croisQre h la victime. Her hair was 
dressed in the Greek style, in what was called in 
the technical language of the hair-dresser's art the 
coiffure Iphiginie, Her beauty and the elegance of her 
dress were enhanced by the profusion of diamonds 
which lighted up a m3rriad of stars in her hair and on 
her bosom. Need I say that it was Amaranta. 

As I saw her, in all the lurking comers of my fancy 
glowed a thousand fires — fires which I could only pic* 
ture to myself as though an alcoholic flame was playing 
and creeping about my brain. While I gazed at her I 
never for a moment remembered the humiliation I had 
endured in her service. Her loveliness was so fasci- 
nating, so bewildering; her grace so proudly noble, the 
decision of her glance so despotic and irresistible, that 
it was worth while to double down for a moment the 
fearful page I had been forced to read in her mysteri^- 
ous character. I looked at her so fixedly that I felt 
nailed to the spot ; my eyes tried to meet a flash from 
hers; I followed every movement of her head; nay, 


watching her gestures and the hardly perceptible mo*. 
tion of her lips, I tried to guess what she was saying, — 
what she was thinking even, at that moment. In a few 
minutes the curtain would rise ; the eyes of all that 
magnificent crowd be upon me — chief among them 
Amaranta's — they would listen to the words I had to 
speak, and the intricacies of the plot in which I had a 
part would appeal no doubt to the feelings, the interest 
and the enthusiasm of so select an audience. These 
were the thoughts which spurred my dormant vanity, 
and filled me with the most absurd self-conceit as I 
thought that to win the applause of so many great 
gentlemen and ladies was a height of glory of which 
the radiance would throw a splendor on my whole life 
after. ♦ 

The orchestra, beginning to play the introductory 
music to the play, raised my excitement to the last 
pitch. The blood was rushing through my veins, fill- 
ing me with fevered energy, and I could not help 
thinking that to have a house like this, to invite so 
many noble friends, to receive and entertain such a 
gathering of fair women must be the greatest pleasure 
on earth. However, the tragedy was about to begin; 
the prompter was in his box, Isidoro had come out of 
his dressing-room, and Lesbia herself, less nervous 
than I should have expected, was ready to step on to 
the stage. This diverted my mind, and I was conscious 
of nothing but fiight A few minutes later the curtain 

The tragedy of Othello in Spanish is a detestable 


translation made by Teodoro la Calle from the French 
of Ducis, Itself a miserable adaptation of Shakespeare's 
play. Notwithstanding the stupendous fall this grand 
work had experienced from the lofty heights of the 
English poet to the abyss of the Spanish imitation, it 
still had the elements of the original drama and its 
effect on the public was always amazing. All my 
readers are of course acquainted with the tragedy in its 
first form, so it will be easy to point out the variations 
from it. 

The dramatis persona were reduced to seven. 
Othello remained unaltered; the characters of Cassio 
and Roderigo were run into one secondary personage 
called Laredano^ who was son to the Duke, Bfabantio 
became Odalberto and was much concerned in the plot. 
Desdetnona had changed only in name and was called 
JSdelmira ; Emilia had become Hermancia^ and lago^ 
the Moor's false friend and betrayer, took the name of 
FSsaro. The action was greatly simplified and the in- 
cident of the handkerchief was eliminated. Instead of 
it a jewel and a note were given by Edelmira to Lore- 
danoy and subsequently came into the hands of Fisaroy 
who, by giving them to Othello, confirmed his slander : 
Apart from these changes, the altered style, and the 
loss of expression and energy of passion placed the 
Spanish as far below the English as the earth is fix>m 
the sky ; but the internal structure of the drama was 
the same, and the scenes duly distributed into five acts. 
To reduce the intervals Maiquez had arranged that on 
the present occasion the second and third acts and the 



fourth and fifth acts respectively should be played in 
one ; the result being three acts in all. 

In the second scene, when the Duke had come to 
the end of his first speech, I was to appear with a not 
very long passage recounting Othello's military tri- 

It was with a trembling voice that I began 

**But have you not yourselves 
With your own eyes witnessed his daring deeds? 


But by degrees I recovered myself and the truth is 
that I did not do so badly, though it would not 
become my pen to boast of my success. Othello then 
appeared on the scene, and afterwards Edelmira, No 
words can do justice to the perfection of Isidoro's 
scene with the senate, and the way in which he fanned 
the flame of passion in Edelmira^s heart ; and as for 
her, I must assert that she was a consummate actress, 
and in the same scene before the senate spoke her part 
with an intensity of feeling which Rita Luna might 
have envied. 

During the first interval between the acts Moratin, 
Arriaza, and Vargas Ponce were to give a recitation. 
The stage was crowded with people who were eager to 
compliment the triumphant Edelmira, Among them I 
saw the old Diplomatist who had not ceased to make 
a display of his attentions to my mistress, for he has- 
tened towards her saying : 

"You may rest assured, adored Pepita, that our 


passion will remaiti a secret, for indeed, you know my 
strict reserve on. such delicate subjects." 

Don Leandro Moratin had gone on to the stage at 
the same moment. The poet, who was at that time 
between forty and fifty years of age, was a pale grave 
man, of medium height, with a low, pleasant voice and 
a careworn expression as of a man saddened by h3rpo- 
chondria and worried by suspicion. His conversation 
was at all times far less cheerful than his writings, still 
it bore the same stamp of imperturbable serenity with 
the cruelest satire, of polished wit, with a peculiar 
ironical and crafty urbanity, and studied simplicity of 
ideas. No one could deny him the honor of having 
revived the true spirit of Spanish comedy, and " The 
Young Maidens' Consent " has always seemed to me a 
work of great genius in spite of the part I took at the 
first performance of that play — as the reader may re- 
member. As a man, his fidelity to the Prince of Peace 
was greatly to his credit at a time when it was the 
fashion to throw stones at that great but fallen tree. 
It is true that the poet had lived and thriven in its 
shade when it was standing and could cover a host 
with its leafy branches. 

So far/ as my opinion is worth anything, I do not 
hesitate to class Don Leandro among the first of Cas- 
tilian prose writers ; but his verse, with the exception 
of a few minor poems, always struck me as artificial, a 
beaten work, as it were, of hard metallic lines to which 
all the hammering of rhetoric could not give smooth- 
ness or polish. In literary skill Moratin was master of 


all the knowledge of his time — which indeed is not 
saying much ; and he would certainly have done better 
to devote himself to the composition of a greater nmn- 
ber of works than to satirizing the faults of others. He 
died in 1828, but his letters and papers reveal no trace 
of his having known the works of Byron, Goethe, or 
Schiller; he went to his grave believing in Goldoni as 
the greatest poet of his day. 

I crave pardon for this digression and will return to 
my story. Moratin went on to the stage to read a 
poem called " Things they say about me," which made 
the audience laugh, as it described very ingeniously the 
dilemmas in which he was placed by his admirers and 
his detractors. He was interrupted every minute by 
eager applause, especially at a passage giving the con- 
versation of certain pedantic critics; still, who am 
deny that in these verses Moratin simply achieved his 
own apotheosis ? 

We will leave the great genius asphyxiating himself 
in the incense of the most flattering compliments, and 
follow the development of the drama which was going 
forward behind the scenes, and which was hardly less 
tragical than that performed on the boards before the 



At the close of the first act then, and before the 
poet had begun to recite his verses, I found Isidoro in 
eager conversation with Lesbia. Though they spoke 
in an undertone, I fancied I caught some words of re- 
crimination and vehement demand from the actor's 
lips, while the lady's face betrayed confusion or con- 
sternation. When they parted, as my ill-star would 
have it, Lesbia came up to me to say : 

" Ah, Gabriel ! this is a good opportunity for say- 
ing a few words to you alone. You can guess on what 
subject. I have been unceasingly anxious ever since I 
heard that the person was apprehended. . . ." 

'' You refer to that letter," said I, twirling my sham 
whiskers to hide my perturbation. 

^' I supposed it would not have fallen into strange 
hands. I suppose you would keep it and bring it with 
you to give to me to-night." 

" No, Senora, I have not brought it. . . . but I will 
look for it : that is to say. ..." 

" What !" she cried in great distress. " Have you 
lost it ?" 

"No, Senora, I meant to say — I have it there — 
only — I — "no other reply would offer itself to my 


" I depend on your discretion and honor," said she 
gravely. " I expect the letter." 

She turned away without another word, leaving me 
greatly troubled at the compromising predicament in 
which I found m)rself. I thought I would once more 
implore my mistress to return me the note, and to this 
intent I called her aside as though I had some secret 
to tell her, and entreated her in the most emphatic 
manner I could command to give me the ill-fated 
document, as its transmission was to me a matter of 
honor. She seemed surprised, and then began to 
laugh sa3ring : 

" I remember nothing about your letter. I do not 
know where it is." 

The second act now began ; I was on the stage for 
only one scene, and when that was over I withdrew, 
fully resolved to hazard a bold stroke. This was to 
search my mistress's room while she was occupied else- 
where. When La Gonzalez stole the letter I had just 
brought from the Escorial I observed that she put it in 
the pocket of her dress. This was the same that she 
had worn to come into the Marque^a's house, but 
having to dress to perform the interlude she had taken 
it oflf and hung it up with a quantity of other garments 
— her cloak, shawl, petticoat, etc., on some pegs put 
up for that purpose on the wall. I must investigate all 
these things. My mistress, having to manage the 
stage, the exits, and all the details, was safely away. I 
was free for the whole of the second act. The time and 
opportunity were fit for my purpose, and such a deed 


did not seem to me very reprehensible, seeing that my 
object was to recover by stealth what had been taken 
from me by stealth. 

I went to work and searched the pockets of the 
dress with equal caxe and rapidity, taking out a hun- 
dred trifles but not the thing I so anxiously sought. I 
had lost all hope of finding it and was almost inclined to 
think that the reason was either that Pepita was taking 
special care of it, or that she had torn it up and thrown 
it away, when I heard hasty steps approaching. Fear- 
ing to be discovered in so mean an action, and escape 
being quite impossible, I hid among the clothes hang- 
ing from the pegs, their fulness affording me ample 
cover. At that very instant Lesbia and Isidoro came 
in. Lesbia shut the door and they sat down. 

I could see them from my hiding-place; Maiquez 
in his disguise as Othello looking like an antique* pic- 
ture, brought to life by some mysterious power and 
which had stepped out of its frame gorgeous with the 
richest hues of the Venetian masters. The dark com- 
plexion to which he had painted his face to imitate that 
of a Moor added to the expression of his fine eyes, to 
the fire of his glance, the whiteness of his teeth and the 
eloquence of his gestures. He wore on his head a 
handsome red and white turban crossed here and there 
by rows of set diamonds. Round his dark neck hung 
strings of amber and large pearls, and a long timic of 
cloth of gold fell from his shoulders to his ankles. It 
was girt about his waist and open over the hips show- 
ing the tightly-fitting purple hose. A cudass and a 


dagger, both with jewelled hilts, hung from a cross- 
belt, and on his bare arms, which were covered by ex- 
tremely fine hosiery of a mulatto brown ending^^ in 
gloves to disguise the hands, glittered two shining 
metal bracelets in the form of twining snakes. The 
light falling on him lent lustre to {he facets of a 
quantity of false gems and the sheen of a gieenish 
mantle which hung about him; and all this, added to 
the animated expression of his face and the dignity of 
his movements, made him altogether as splendid a 
human figiure as it is possible to imagine. 

Lesbia was dressed with eqiial elegance and sim- 
plicity in silver brocade; her golden hair was done 
after, the antique — in accordance with the prevailing 
fashion, rather than with historical accuracy — and was 
adorned with fillets and strings of small pearb; not 
false ones like Isidore's, but the purest and finest 
oriental gems. 

The Moor, taking Lesbia's lovely white hands in 
his black ones, said : 

''At length we have a minute to speak to each 

" Yes, Pepita said we could meet in her room," she 
replied. '' But it must not be for long; the Marquesa 
is waiting for me. You know that my husband is 
here ?" 

" Why such haste ? — Why did you not write to me 
from the Escorial ?" 

" I could not write," she said impatiently. '* When 
we have time I will explain to you. ..." 


" Now- — now at once, you must answer me." 

" Do not be so foolish. You promised me that you 
would not be impertinent, or curious, or tiresome," she 
went on coquettishly. 

" That would be to promise not to love you ; and I 
love you, Lesbia, I love you madly — to my sorrow^." 

"Are you jealous, Othello?'' she asked, and assum- 
ing a theatrical tone she went oa half in earnest and 
half in jest : 

*' Oh, my Othello! 'tis for thee alone 
My heart reserves its fondest, deepest love/' 

" Have done with jesting ! — Yes, I am jealous ; I 
cannot disguise it," cried the Moor with anxious ve** 

" Of whom ?" 

"Can you ask? Do you suppose I did not see 
that ass. Manara sitting in the front row and gazing at 
you like an idiot ?" 

" And is that all you have to go upon ! Have you 
no motive for suspicion but that ?" 

" If there were any other, wretched woman, could 
you look me so calmly in the face ?" 

"Gently, gently, Senor Othello. Do you know 
you quite frighten me ?" 

"That young fellow boasted publicly at the Es- 
corial that you loved him," Isidoro went on, fixing his 
eyes so fiercely on Lesbia's face that he seemed to wish 
to read to the very bottom of her soul. 


" If you take that tone I shall leave you at once," 
said Lesbia somewhat disconcerted. 

"I have had anonymous letters. One of them 
warned me that Manara had written you a letter on 
the day when he was taken prisoner, and that you had 
answered it. Besides, I know that the fellow adores 
you, and I know he used to visit you in Madrid. Will 
you give me a satisfactory explanation of all this ?" ■ 

"Ah, I have a powerful and pitiless enemy who 
was, I suppose, the writer of the anonymous notes you 
have received." 

" And who is that ?" 

" I have told you before. It is Amaranta; and I 
told you, too, that behind the Condesa*s hostility lies 
the hatred of a person of higher rank. All the ladies 
who in former times were that royal lady's youthful 
allies are weary of looking on at the licentiousness that 
stains the throne ; we now refuse to take any part in 
the scandals that bring shame on our hapless country f 
— I never told you the origin of our quarrel ; but I 
will do so now — only do not be angry at hearing the 
name of that Manara, whom you so greatly dreads 
It seems that Manara, like a second Joseph, repelled 
the advances of that august personage, whose passion 
was thereby converted into hatred and a desire to be 
revenged. At the same time the young man began to 
pay his court to me, and the indignant lady turned her 
rancor against me while I was not even aware of 
Maiiara's devotion to me. Never could I care for 
such a man 1 — She began an artful and unceasing 


campaign against me; she dismissed from office every- 
one who had obtained it through my mediation, and her 
only care was to find ways of insulting me. Finding 
myself thus persecuted without reason I took part with 
the Prince of Asturias, offered my adherence to the 
conspirators, and had the satisfaction of finding myself 
of important service to so noble a cause. I may con- 
fess to you without fear : For some time I was the go- 
between for the correspondence carried on by Escoi- 
quiz and the French Ambassador; it was in my house 
that they and others met on several occasions ; I alone 
knew of the first sittings held in El Retire ; I was in 
the secret of all the schemes which were discovered 
through a blunder on the part of the Prince ; I knew 
of the plan for marrying him to a Princess of the Im- 
perial family; and that the Duke del Infantado was 
only waiting for Prince Ferdinand's signature to the 
order before letting the troops and the people loose in 
the streets — in short, I knew everything." 

" But all this seems to me highly improbable," said 
Isidore. " If it is true, how is it that you were not 
. publicly prosecuted — how is it that you were set at 
liberty half an hour after you had been taken ?" 

<' Oh, I knew I should come to no harm I I have 
a powerful shield to protect me against the machina- 
tions of the Camarilla. I think I told you that when I 
intervened to arrange Godoy's first reconciliation and 
when I tried, by august command, to induce him to 
return to the Palace, I became cognizant of secrets of 
which the publication would make certain personages 



die of terror. I actually possess documents which 
would inculpate and disgrace, in the most odious man- 
ner, those who wrote them; and I know the whole his- 
tory of the malversation of certain moneys devoted to 
pious works, and spent on things far indeed &om piety. 
All this happened at a time when we used to make 
clandestine excursions from the Palace when Amaxaaita 
was being painted by Goya. She had been a widow a 
year when, by a providential coincidence, X discovered 
the ^eat mystary of her youth ; it was told me by a 
common woman who lives on the banks of the Manza- 
nares next door to the painter. I told it to you long 
since, and I propose so to manage now that every one 
may hear it. Before her marriage Ama]:aata had had 
a luckless and secret love afilair resulting in the biith of 
a child which however died." 

" You never told me of this." 

'^Amaranta's parents succeeded in concealing her 
disgrace, and the young lover, who was descended 
from a noble Castilian house and who had come to 
Madrid to seek his fortune, fled to France and was 
killed in the Republican wars." 

<<You have told me a strange, romance," said 
Isidoro. "But you have very artfully diverted the 
conversation from the main point. -*- At last you con- 
fess that Manara made love to you." 

"Yes; but never have I dreamed of returmng it 
I neither meet him, nor see him, nor speak with him. 
It is your jealousy which leads me for the first time to 
direct my attention to the man." 


'* You cannot convince me, no. I have proofs. I 
have been told that you love this fellow. Oh ! If my 
suspicions should be confirmed. — Do you think I 
failed to note the enchantment with which he watched 
your performance." 

" I will contrive to do it badly so as not to enchant 
my hearers." 

" No, no ! It is useless to make excuses and turn 
it off. Why do you say you do not care about him 
when I myself, during the scene with the senate, de- 
tected you looking at him — I even fancied you were 
making signs to him ?" 

" I ? you are crazy ! You do not know. My hus- 
band, who has given up his hunting to be present at 
this performance, is sitting next to that perfidious Ama- 
ranta who is talking to him with the greatest interest. 
If you saw me looking round the audience it was 
because his talking to Amaranta makes me most 
anxious. I fear that she may have sent an anonymous 
note to him, too. His coldness and gloomy manner 
show me that he, too, is suspicious." 

" You see ! And with good reason !" 

"Yes — but only because he is suspicious of you." 

" No, no," cried Isidoro. " Do not evade the 
question. You love Maiiara; all your tricks will not 
avail to get that idea out of my burning brain. And 
that idiot is there, rejoicing in the applause they lavish 
on you, and which flatters his vanity because he knows 
himself to be the lover of the splendid artist ! Never 
will I suffer you to act again. As I watch the enthu- 

aS4 THE couig: of charles iv. 

siasm of your admirers from behind the scenes, as I see 
them with their eyes fixed on you, sympathizing in 
every passion uttered by your lips, I could leap off 
the stage to strike and blind the eyes that gaze at 
you !" 

"You frighten me I" said Lesbia. "You are not 
Isidoro but Othello in person. Be calm for God's 
sake. You know full well how much I love yoa 
Why do you insult me with foolish jealousy ?" 

" You have but to dispel it." 

"How can I if no argument will convince you? 
Your violent temper will compromise me in some way. 
Be cool I entreat you and do not be so mad." 

"I will if you really love me. But you do not 
know what I am. — Isidoro suffers no rival either on 
the stage or off it. No woman has ever yet made a 
fool of me, no, nor man either. Understand that." 

" Yes, my Lord, I quite understand," replied Lesbia 
in a lighter tone and rising to go. " But much as I 
•enjoy your conversation I must now leave you. Do 
you know I am afraid of you ?" 

" Perhaps not without good reason. — But must 
you go so soon ?" said the Moor, trying to detain her. 

" Yes. I am going," replied Lesbia. " The inter- 
lude is ended and the third act is about to begin." 

And she made her escape as lightly as a gazelle. 
At the same moment we could hear the applause 
which rose up for my mistress as she ended her per- 
formance, and in a minute or two she came into her 
room radiant with delight, her face flushed with excite- 


ment, and so much out of breath that she at once 
<lropped on to a sofa. 


"Oh, Isidore! Why did you not come to hear 
me ?" she said panting. " They say I did very well. 
How they clapped me 1" 

"Will you cease to talk nonsense?" said Isidore 
with ill-humor. 

"By the bye — they say Lesbia plays Edelmira 
better than I do. See what beauty can do! Her 
pretty face turns the head of every man in the room. 
One, above all, never takes his eyes off her, and it 
would seem. ..." 

" Will you hold your tongue !" said the Moor 
rudely. And then, like a man who has come to a sud- 
den resolution, the terrible frown on his brows cleared 
away and seating himself by her side he began : 

" Pepa, I want you to do me a favor." 

" Bid me do what you will." 

"You have always proved yourself very grateful 
for all I have done for your benefit. You have often 
said : ^ What can 1 1 do, Isidore, to repay all I owe 
you ?' — Well, my child, you can now do me an im- 
mense service which will go far to repay the man who 
raised you from misery and taught you the actor's art, 
thus giving you position, fame and fortune." 


" My gratitude will only end with my life," said the 
actress sweetly. " What do you require of me ?" 

" If the trouble I am now in affected my feelings 
alone I could easily meet it, for I have learnt to suffer. 
But it may perhaps touch my self-esteem, even place 
my dignity in the greatest peril, and though I can 
submit to enduring the cruelest disappointments, come 
^hat may I cannot resign myself to playing a con- 
temptible and ridiculous part in the eyes of my friends 
and of the world." 

" I know what you are going to say. Lesbia tells 
me that you are jealous. You should see how she 
laughs at you, calling you * hapless Othello !■ " 

" We can never trust to the affection sometimes 
shown us by persons of a rank superior to our own. 
Between us and them a gulf is fixed, and though we 
may occasionally dazzle them by our talents or our art, 
the illusion is but brief and they end by despising us 
and being ashamed of having loved us. All who have 
ever shone on the stage have learnt the bitter truth. 
Do you not know it as well as I ?" 

" Yes," said Pepita. " And I should have thought 
you of all men had been familiar with it before now." 

" These grand folks," Isidore went on, " look down 
on us from their boxes. Their imagination is be- 
witched as they see us mimic great characters and 
feign the loftiest passions — love, heroism, self-de- 
votion ; they fall in love with what they see, with an 
ideal being in which the person of the hero we embody 
is fused and made one with our own. Under this ex- 


citement they seek us behind the scenes and outside 
the theatre, but when they know us better and fiijid out 
that we are no better — or perhaps worse — than other 
men and that all the sublimity lent by dramatic art 
vanishes with the robes and false jewels which we shed 
when the play is over, their enthusiasm is gone like a 
breath and they only regard us as a troop of impostors 
and cheating actors, hardly deserving of the money 
they pay us. Till now, Pepa, I have been tolerably 
indifferent to the abrupt termination of the connection 
with which some persons of rank have honored those 
of our profession ; but that which has now come upon 
me affects me deeply, for — I will be frank with 
you. . . ." 

" You really love Lesbia ?" 

" Yes, to my sorrow. It is not one of those shal- 
low and transient passions which die when the desire 
of a day is satisfied. That woman has made so deep 
an impression on my heart that I begin to be con- 
scious of the stultifying effect that follows on an insane 
passion. I know full well that it is by coquetry, 
frivolity and the endless arts of a fickle and facile 
nature that she has thus bewitched me ; and to crown 
my misery, my soul is so torn with jealousy, distrust, 
and the fear of being ridiculously supplanted by an- 
other, that I cannot answer for what may happen." 

" Hey day, Seiior Othello, what next ?" said my 
mistress gaily. " Whom do you mean to kill ?" 

" Do not laugh, foolish child," the Moor went on. 



^Did you see that wretched Maiiara among the audi* 
ence ?" 

" Yes, he is sitting in a chair in the front row and 
never takes his eyes off the Lady Edelmira, To tell 
you the truth, my dear fellow, and without any inten- 
tion of confirming your suspicions, that young man's 
extravagant enthusiasm has attracted the attention of 
every one in the room ; several have seen the signals 
he has been making to Lesbia during the performance. 
And moreover — I did not see it but I was told. . . .** 

" What were you told ?" 

^^ That the Duchess looks at him a good deal, too^ 
and that she seems to be acting for him alone, for at 
every important passage she turns towards him to 
speak as though she longed to throw herself into his 
arms." * 

"Oh I it is beyond doubting — you see!" cried 
Isidore raging with fury. " And every one will laugh 
at me ! — And that contemptible puppy. — Oh ! Pepa, 
I must find out for certain what there is in all this*-* I | 
must put an end once for all to these fearfiil doubts. I 
will immask this wretch; and if she is deceiving me-^ 
if she is capable of preferring the idiotic attentions of 
that mean and contemptible boy to the love of such a 
man as I am. . . . Pepa ! My revenge will be terrible. 
You will help me — will you not? You owe every- 
thing to me, I raised you from misery, you cannot 
refuse me the support of your ingenuity to gain this 
end, and by procuring me that ineffable satisfaction 


you will discharge in full the debt of gratitu4e you owe 

As he spoke the actor rose and walked up and 
down the litde room like a caged lion, his lips quiver- 
ing as he uttered his threats of vengeance. The 
strange thing was that my mistress — whether from the 
^nmediate effect on her mind, or because she thought 
it well to dissimulate her real feelings, was far from 
seeming terrified at the wrath of her friend and master^ 
and only replied with laughter. 

" You can laugh ?" said Maiquez, standing still in 
front of her. " Very right ! The time has come when 
even the box-openers of the theatre may laugh at Isi- 
<ioro ! — But you do not understand, child," he went on, 
sitting down. " Your feelings are tame ; you have no 
energy, no fire. I admire you for it — I wish I could 
imitate you, for I know very well that in every fancy 
jou have known to this hour you have but played with 
love, taking it up as an amusing pastime which is good 
fun for one while the rest are frenzied ; but to this day 
you know nothing of the love which brings us nothing 
but mortification, while others laugh at our expense — 
and God preserve you from it !" 

" What pride !" exclaimed Pepita seriously. " Even 
in this you like to think that you know more than 

" Well, if ever you really love, beware of falling in 
love with one of those conceited aristocrats who take 
you up merely to gratify their vanity. They can never 
feel a noble and disinterested passion." 


'' I do not believe I could ever love any man who 
was not my equal, or who would be ashamed to own 
me as his companion." 

" What good sense, Pepilla ! Where did you learn 
that? But at the same time I advise you never to 
attach yourself to an actor, unless you wish to drive all 
the female portion of the public mad with jealousy. 
Do you know what jealousy is ?" 

" To be sure I do." 

" Then you love some one within the limits of the 
theatre? It is a misfortune, take my word for it 
Your only good chance is that he may be a man who, 
for lack of talent, will never excite the unreasoning ad- 
miration of the fair ones of the pit and boxes. Then 
you may be happy, Pepilla; and if you wish to marry, 
count on my support." 

" Oh 1 I am far from aspiring to that !" 

" Is he such a brute as not to love you ? Perhaps 
he is your superior ?" 

" Much, very much my superior," she replied with 
a great effort to appear less agitated than she felt. > 

'^ It is some tenor then, in Manuel Garcia's com- 
pany. Leave me to deal with him* If it is as I sup- 
pose, and if he disdains your humble love for the 
tinsel adoration of some damsel who struts about in 
piu'ple behind the scenes — then you do know what 
jealousy means." 

^<I know it full well, and have suffered from it 
enough, Isidoro," said Pepa in a voice of confiding 
tenderness. ^'But I have one advantage over yoa^ 


who, as you are not yet sure that you are betrayed, do 
not know how to act. I know beyond the shadow of 
a doubt that I am not loved; and as circumstances 
have turned out I have the opportunity of being re- 

" Oh, Pepa ! I hardly know you ! I did not believe 

you capable " Isidore began vehemently. "You 

shall be revenged. Make yourself easy; I will help 
you, if you will help me to verify and punish Lesbians 
treachery. But tell me, child, tell me who is the man ? 
Be candid with me; I am your best friend." 

" I will tell you later, Isidoro.' For the present I 
mean to keep it a secret." 

"You are a good girl, Pepilla," he went <m 
thoughtfully. " I could not have expected to find in 
you so faithful an echo of what I feel in myself. And 
that wretch can neglect you for another, little knowing 
Ae treasures of your faithful heart ! — Tell me who it 
is. Is it Manuel Garcia himself? I see, my child, 
you know how much we suffer in our dignity, our self- 
esteem, when we see that the love which is due to us is 
given to another. The idea of the pitiful figure you 
liittst cut in the eyes of the world must mortify you 
cruelly, and the thought of the comments that will be 
made on your ridiculous position, by the envious and 
vulgar, while the reflection that you, who are accus- 
tomed to see all hearts at your feet, are despised by 
one must madden your wounded pride and make you 
weep in silence at finding yourself so much lower than 
you had dreamed." 

2€j the court of CHARLES IV. 

** In this respect/' said my mistress sadly, ** we are 
not alike. You are mad with jealousy, but to you the 
pangs inflicted on your dignity — the dignity of the 
great Isidoro, who is wont to despise others and never 
to be despised — are worse than the scorn of her who 
was your heart's idol. It makes you fUrious to think 
that the envious may mock at you, and it is pride, not 
love that prompts you to such fearful threats of ven- 
geance. Now, it is ilot so with me. I love m3rstery9 
and if I were to triumph I should enjoy keeping my 
happiness a secret. It would make no difference to me 
if the man I loved were to ftirt with every woman on 
earth so long as he really loved no one better than 

" You are a strange creature, Pepilla ; and you are 
revealing to me treasures of sweetness which I never 
suspected in your heart." 

"I — " she went on with some enaotion, " t live for 
him alone and little I care for the rest of the world. I 
can be frank with you and tell you everything but his 
name ; that no one may know. I do not know how 
this fatal love began; I feel as if I must have been 
bom with this passion which masters me the more 
completely the more I try to smother it. I would 
gladly lay down my life for him. You perhaps do not 
understand this; still less that I would even give up 
my reputation as an artist and the admiration and ap- 
plause of the multitude. What is it all worth ? I love 
him for his own sake and not for the vanity of parad* 
ing a conquest." 


*^And the man who has inspirjed you with such 
noble devotion without making any return for it is a 
wretch !" cried Isidoro. " He deserves to drag out his 
life under the contempt of everybody. And will you 
not tell me either who is the woman he prefers?'' 

"No, not that either," replied the actress. And 
then, unable to hide her tears, she went on : "I am 
not cruel. I never wished to take a revenge which 
will, I know, be terrible; but it has fallen into my 
hands and I must carry it out." 

"And you are right," said he, his fancy gloating 
over thoughts of assassination. " Revenge yourself — 
and I, too, will be revenged. We will help each other. 
Can I be of any use to you ?" 

"Of the greatest," said my mistress. "I expect 
your aid to prove invaluable." 

" And I may count upon you ?" 

" Can you ask me ?" 

" Listen then. Lesbia trusts your fiiendship. Has 
she had any meetings yet with this young officer in 
your house ?" 

" Not up to the present time." 

. " Then $he will have. And if she does not plan it, 
do you do so in a friendly manner," 

" To what end ?" 

*fTo surprise her somewhere with this Manara. 
She is always ready to visit at the houses of friends be- 
neath her in rank, so as to escape the watchfulness of 
her family and her husband." 

" I understand." 


" I trust to you not to allow her to inveigle you, 
but to make the service you are doing me, your friend 
and protector, a consideration that outweighs all 
others. I expect you will find it quite easy to do what 
I propose. If they go to your house, detain them 
there and sfend me word. I will take care that the 
young man shall never forget me as long as he lives." 

" I tremble with delight at the thought of your ven- 
geance," said Pepita. " I feel as you do, but with 
even more reason, for my revenge is even nearer at 

" Can I trust you ? Will you report to me every- 
thing you see ?" 

''Be quite easy. Yoii do not know me yet: on 
this occasion you shall see me as I am." 

" But what do you yourself think about the matter ?" 
asked the Moor eagerly. " Do you think that I am 
right ? Does Lesbia love the man ?" 

" Yes — I think she is betraying you shamefully. I 
believe that all who are acting here to-night are laugh* 
ing you to scorn and that the favored lover can hardly 
contain himself for pride and satisfaction." 

" Thunder and doom !" cried Maiquez, beside him- 
self with rage, " I will spit in his face from the stage. 
Oh Pepilla! I admire and envy your self-command. 
Never wish to be like me 1 God grant that you may 
never know those fiery serpents which writhe within 
my breast and pour their venom into my arteries. 
Ah 1 how great a man was the English poet who con- 
ceived Othello. How well he has painted the frenzy 


of a jealous man, the hideous fruition for which he 
pines, hoping to lay the lifeless and bleeding body of 
his rival under the very eyes which have bewitched 
him ! He had good reason to believe that a woman's 
heart is a den of falsehood and treachery; and how 
^ell he understood the hideous determination of the 
Moor, and the horrible joy he felt as he buried his 
laufe in the quivering limbs of the offending wretch and 
then cast away the vile corpse !" 

"Whose corpse, Isidoro? His or hers?" asked 
Pepita coolly. 

" Both," cried Isidoro clenching his fists. " You 
say they are scoffing at me P They all know it, they 
are watching me, I am the laughing-stock of all these 
vile upstarts ! Isidoro Maiquez is the laughing-stock 
of the public and must hide and flee to escape from the 
jesting of the envious ; not a woman will ever deign to 
look him in the face again. •— But you — if you knew 
all that was going on, why did you not tell me ? You 
must be crazy! I have no true friend — no one who 
cares for my honor and self-respect. I am alone in the 
world! And alone, God willing, I will withdraw to 
the place it becomes me to fill." 

As he spoke he rose with an air of determination. 
At the same instant there was a knock at the door : 
the signal for all the performers to go on for the third 
act. Maiquez was leaving the room, but as he moved 
something fell from his belt on to the floor. It was his 
dagger with the metal handle and blade of plated 
wood. During their conversation I had seen Pepita 


playing with the chain to which it hung and it had 

*^ A link has given way/' said she, picking up the 
weapon, " I will mend it for you by t3ring it finnly." 

Isidore went away^ and my mistress going up to a 
table that stood against the opposite wall, busied 
herself for some little time with something which I 
could not see ; but I concluded that she was fastening 
together the broken chain. At length she, too, quitted 
the room and I was able to come out of my stifling 
hiding-place and run to the stage. 


The last act had begun, the most important <xke of 
the drama. In it Pesaro gradually rouses jealousy in 
the mind of the credulous Moor till, being cheated by 
a cruel and subtle calumny, he is hurried on to the 
fatal end. The importance of my part compelled me 
to fix my whole mind on it and put aside the experi- 
ences of the last half-hour. During my first scene 
with Othello^ I observed that Maiquez was uneasy and 
suspicious and kept glancing at Manara who sat close 
to the stage. The agitation of his mind made the 
great actor strangely inattentive to what he was doing. 
Occasionally some line of mine remained unanswered ; 
here and there he omitted passages, and his practised 
tongue even failed him at some of the points where he 
was wont to win the heartiest applause. The audience 


were ill-pleased, for though they well knew Isidoro's 
capricious temper, they did not like his permitting 
himself to be so careless in a. performance among 
friends and before the most select of his admireis. 
Perfect silence reigned ; only a low murmur of surprise 
or vexation was aroused as the lines were delivered 
witiiout feeling or coldly uttered by the prince of Span- 
ish actors. 

They hoped to see that he had recovered himsdf in 
the second scene with pisaro, PharOy working out 
the plot he has laid ^ with diabolical cunning ag^unst 
Edeimira^ ajt last produces the inexcusable evidence 
demanded by Othello before he will believe in the 
Venetian lady's infidelity. The proof lies in a jewelled 
chaplet entrusted to Loredano by Edeltnira^ and a 
certain letter which her father has compelled her to 
sign by threatening to kill her if she refuses. Neither 
the parting with the diadem nor the letter signed under 
coercion are proofs which could compromise the wife 
in the eye of calm judgment ; but Othello, in his blind 
precipitancy and savage fury, needs no more to lead 
him into the snare. 

Before going on to the stage for this scene, as I 
stood on one side I heard the other actors discussing 
Isidoro's want of fire, and some of them ascribed the 
fault not to the great actor himself but me, saying I 
had put him out by my abominable delivery of my 
part. This hurt my feelings ; I really believed that I 
was the cause pf the play falling flat and determined to 
put forth my utmost efforts to win some applause. 


My mistress, as I have said, was stage manager^ 
she had arranged the entrances and exits, and made it 
her business to provide each actor with the ^ prc^)er- 
ties " needed in the course of the performance. She 
now gave me the diadem and the letter and I went ki 
search of Othello who was speaking the last lines of his 
monologue on the stage. Then began the grand scene 
which remains tragical, sublime and captivating even 
alter having passed through the colorless medimn of 
La Calle's genius. 

<*Say, hast thon learnt to suffer?*' 
I began, and Isidoro looking darkly at me replied : 

"Aye, I ha"?«.* 

'* And canst thou calmly bear to lend an ear 
To tidings I must tell thee of great woe ?*' 

** I am a man." 

He sternly answered. • Thus the dialogue went on 
and Isidoro seemed to have recovered all his powers, 
for the words inspired by suspicion and torture of 
mind came itom the bottom of his soul. When he 

" Faithless, sayst thou ! I must possess the proofs. 
Give me the proof I say " 

* The situations and style of the Spanish version are so unlike 
those of Shakespeare's play that no selection of corre9|>onding pa»* 
sages was possible. I am reduced to giving a translation from the 
Spanish Othello. 


he gripped my wrist so hard and his glowing eyes 
glared at me with such fury that I lost my presence o€ 
mind, and for a moment the words of my reply to his 
demand escaped my manory. I immediately recov- 
ered myself; I gave him the jewel and then the letter. 
But when I saw the fatal document in his hand a sudden 
terror fell upon me and I was speechless with horror. 
In the color and folding of the paper and the shape of 
the letter, which I could see distinctly as he held it to 
read, I recognized the note which Ixsbia had given mc 
at the Escorial for Manara, and which Pepa had stolen 
from my pocket on my arrival in Madrid. 

Othello was to read the note aloud and it ought to 
have run as follows : " Father, I confess the folly by 
which I have offended you. You alone have a right to 
dispose of your daughter EdelmiraJ* 

But the note which Pepa's malice had placed in his 
hands said : " Beloved Juan, I forgive you the insult,, 
and the distress you have caused me ; but if you wish 
me to believe in your repentance, prove it by coming to 
sup with me this evening in my rooms, when I will 
finally dissipate your groundless jealousy by impressing 
on you that I never loved and never could love 
Isidoro — that ill-bred and presumptuous actor, to 
whom I have only spoken now and then to amuse my- 
self with his idiotic passion. Do not fail me or you 
will incur the anger of your Lesbia." 

"P.S. Do not be afraid of being apprehended; 
they are mor« likely to lay hands on the King.'* 

A strange thing happened. Isidoro read the note 



in silence ; his quivering lips were dry and pale ; then^ 
as if he could not believe his own eyes, he read it 
again and again, while the audience, not knowing the 
reason of this pause, began a low murmur of amaze- 
ment. At length the actor looked up and pressed his 
hands to his forehead as though awaking from sleep. 
He stammered out a few terrible words, closed his eyes 
as if trying to collect himself and remember his part; 
took two or three steps down the stage and then back 
again. The murmurs grew louder, the prompter called 
to him loudly, giving him his words; at last Isidoro 
shuddered from head to foot, his face flushed hotly, he 
clenched his fists, struck out in the air, stamped on the 
floor and declaimed the terrible lines : 

** Lx>ok on this letter and behold this crown. 
. I tell you I will drown them both 
In her unhappy and detested blood — 
That blood so foul, so loathsome now to me. 
Think of my joy when on the pallid corpse 
Of my most traitorous rival I shall see 
The senseless body of his paramour !'* 

Never on the Spanish stage had these lines been 
declaimed with such fierce eloquence or such terrific 
expression. The art of the actor had vanished ; the 
man himself — Othello in his barbaric fury, made the 
audience tremble with the tones of his fierce wrath. A 
thunder of unanimous applause shook the room ; never 
had such a triumph of perfection been se^n before. 

Then a change came over the Moor's features, his 


color became livid, he clutched his hands over his 
breast, and his voice, changing from that of rage to a 
tone of heartrending pathos, he went on : 

*' The wildest storms 
By loudest winds give notice of their coining; 
Lightning foretells the fatal thunder-bolt, 
The lion's roar warns us of his approach. 
But woman wears a guileless mien and smile 
Of flattering sweetness while she breaks our heart 
With murderous perfidy^'' 

Fresh and enthusiastic applause. The women were 
weeping, nay some of the men could not control them- 
selves and shed tears too. The spectators were 
thrilled, astounded, electrified, and each one, forgetting 
himself and his own concerns, was for the moment one 
with Othello in nature and passions. 

The performance went on. Othello left the stage 
and the scene changed to Edelmira^s room. Mean- 
while every one was asking what was the cause of 
Isidore's agitation and excitement; and I did not 
know what to say. 

Behind the scenes we searched for him everywhere, 
but could not find him, and no one could suggest where 
he might have gone. Edelmira spoke her soliloquy 
with wonderful feeling; she never ceased looking at 
Maiiara, and the defiant vanity of her glance seemed to 
say : " How well I act !" while her happy lover lost in 
contemplation, seemed to reply : " How beautiful you 
are !" 


And so she was. Lesbia was bewitching ; with her 
hair over her shoulders and her thin white dress cling- 
ing to her languid limbs. Then enter Hermanciay her 
faithful friend to whom Edelmira confides her melan- 
choly forebodings. How s.weet and sad were her ac- 
cents as she told her fears of a terrible end! What 
sympathy her griefs aroused ! Though I had seen the 
tragedy many times from behind the scenes and had 
no illusions, that evening I was conscious of an imac* 
countable shudder, and was deeply moved by the fate 
of the innocent and hapless Edelmira, 

Othello's wife, hoping to relieve the oppression of 
her soul, takes her harp and sings the lament of Laura 
at the foot of the willow,* — her complaint is the 
voice of Death itself. Edelmira^ who had studied the 
plaintive ballad with Manuel Garcia, sang it with sweet 
and poetical expression. Her voice seemed to thrill 
in our very bones and made us shiver with horror as at 
the touch of cold steel. 

The song cieased and thunder growled behind the 
scenes. The audience were so strongly impressed that 
they did not even applaud. Edelmira went to bed 
and the stillness was profound. Othello was to appear 
and during the brief instant while silence reigned <^ 
the stage there was not a sound in the room. I 
fancied I could hear men's hearts beating ; it was the 
throbbing of my own. Deadly apprehension had 
come over me; I glanced about me hoping to see 

* This of course is the Spanish version. 


some one to whom I could communicate my fears, but 
I only saw my mistress's pale face trying to smile as 
she said : ** How well Lesbia played her part. I own 
myself beaten, for she acts it a thousand times better 
than I. But now we shall see what Isidoro can do ; 
he is better inspired than ever this evening." 

I was watching Maiquez who was speaking the 
first words of the scene by Edelmira^s bed. His face 
was calm and thoughtful as he lifted the curtain and 
said softly : 

'< Thou shalt not die! How well these dismal lights en- 
hance thy beauty !" 

A confused murmur rose from the crowded audi- 
ence ; almost every woman was sobbing and the men 
found it difficult to preserve the composure of indiffer- 
ence. Othello bent over Edelmira saying with ecstasy : 

" How pure her breath I What charm is this that draws 
My body down to hers with such compulsion." 

Edelmira wakes with a start. At first Othello dis- 
sembles, but presently he no longer conceals his pur- 
pose, and Edelmira^ terrified and bewildered, swears 
that she is innocent. Nothing can convince the ter- 
rible Moor whose expression suddenly changes as he 
exclaims with ferocious accent and wild gestures : 

** Look on me — Do you know me — do you know me ?** 



The spectators shuddered with horror. Some ladies 
fainted and others could be heard protesting: 

" Mercy ! Have mercy on Edelmira — she is in- 
nocent — that vile PSsaro alone is to blame. — Bring 
in PSsaro /" 

Isidoro had taken out the letter and held it before 
Lesbia's eyes ; she gave a fearful shriek and spoke not 
a word of the lines of her part. He drew nearer and 
nearer to her ; in her terror she seemed about to leap 
from the bed. She had utterly forgotten her words; 
however she controlled herself and presently remem- 
bered enough to go on : 

*• What would you say to in« T* 

"Prepare yourself." 
•'Prepare! For what?" 

'< This steel shall teach yon that." 

As he spoke Isidoro unsheathed the dagger. 

Instead of the plated wooden blade we saw the 
gleam of bright steel. The consternation behind the 
scenes was universal. Edelmira sprang from the bed 
in an agony of fear and flew across the stage screaming 
like a mad creature : " Mercy, mercy ! — Murder, help, 
murder I" 

The scene on the stage and off it at this moment 
bafHes my powers of description. The spectators in 
the front rows tried to scramble on to the stage just as 
Isidoro, swooping down on Lesbia, had seized her by 
the arm. At that instant I, unable to contain myself, 


rushed towards the lady as if shot forward by a spring, 
and threw my arms round her. Isidoro's knife was 
over me. The unexpected intervention of so different 
a victim no doubt brought the enraged actor to his 
senses ; he shuddered violently ; a veil seemed to fall 
from his eyes ; he flung away the dagger and trying to 
recover himself spoke a few thundering lines while he 
clutched me in his hands as though I had been Edel- 
mira. She meanwhile, slipping from my arms, fell 
senseless on the stage, and we were instantly the 
centre of a crowd. All this passed in a few seconds. 


The stage was soon filled with people. The Con- 
desa was lifted from the ground and made the object 
of the most anxious care. In a few minutes she came 
to herself, opened her eyes and spoke. She had not 
sustained the slightest injury and all had ended with 
nothing worse than a fright. She was extraordinarily 
pale and agitated; but among the bystanders there 
was one even paler and more completely upset : that 
was La Gonzalez. 

Isidoro seemed stunned and abashed. When at 
the end of about half an hour it was beyond a doubt 
that the catastrophe we all had dreaded had been 
averted, an eager discussion arose as to the occurrence 
which the majority of the audience were inclined to 


regard merely from the artistic point of view, many- 
being of opinion that Maiquez, under the delirious 
excitement of genius, had identified himself too per* 
fectly with his part. 

" But," said Moratin, " such acting, far from show- 
ing the road to perfection in art, leads directly to the 
corruption of taste; it must destroy all the grace and 
beauty of illusion and open the way to revolting 

"That is not acting — it is nothing of the kind," 
said Arriaza, who, as every one knew, hated Maiquez. 
" If the gentleman chooses to introduce the style of the 
French school he will destroy the art of true declama* 

"I never saw Maiquez so impassioned, so full of 
fire," said a gentleman who now joined the groupw 
" It strikes me that something was going on behind 
the scenes extraneous to the play." 

Then another young fellow spoke into the first 
one's ear, and for a time they conversed in whispers 
ending in laughter. Manara happened to go past 
them and they stared at him intently. 

" Then Isidoro's fury is fully accounted for," said 

" Till now," Moratin went on, " I have alwa3rs seen 
him keep strictly within the limits of stage propriety." 

" I can remember when Isidoro was a lump of ice," 
said Arriaza. " In the theatre he always went by the 
name of the Marble Man." 

" That is true," said Moratin. " But he came back 


^x)m Paris much improved,* and it cannot be denied 
that he is an actor of great merit. He has no equal in 
pathetic parts ; in tragedy he is apt to lack fervor, but 
this evening he has had too much." 

f* I know him well," said a third. " He is a man 
of violent passions. As a consunmiate actor he knows 
full well that art is fiction, and that on the stage he 
should never cease to keep within the bounds of pro- 
priety. This evening we have seen him as he really 

Others now joined the group. 

" What did you think of the conclusion of the play 
Senor Duque ?" asked Arriaza. 

" Magnificent ! That is something like acting," 
said Lesbia's husband. ^'It is life itself. But I will 
never again allow my wife to appear on the stage. 
She acts too well, and fairly turns the heads of the 
men who act with her with enthusiasm." 

The rap of a fan on his shoulder made the speaker 
turn his head. Amaranta had come into the circle. 
All bowed low and were eager to have the honor of 
speaking to her. She began : 

" I can assure you, Duke, that there is nothing to 
be alarmed at. An excess of dramatic inspiration on 
his part and nothing more." 

'' Excess is bad in all things; I thought my wife 
was about to meet her death at Isidore's hands in his 
dramatic inspiration." 

" Besides," Amaranta went on, " some other cause 
perhaps, of which we know nothing. . . ." 


As she spoke it seemed as though the iak one's foot 
had touched some unexpected object lying on the 
floor. She started back — the others did likewise and 
Amaranta's skirts falling back revealed a crumpled 
paper. Amaranta hastily picked it up as though it 
were a priceless treasure, and after glancing at it, put 
it in her pocket. It was the fatal letter— as the 
novelists have it 

" Some cause of which we know nothing/* repeated 
the Duke, taking up the interrupted conversation. 

" Yes," said the lady. " And I believe I can 
throw some light upon it. — But I must go to speak 
with La Gonzalez. I will wait for you in her room; 
we can talk there." 

The men were alone again. The Marquesa now 
crossed the stage, enquiring for Isidoro. 

" Is it,possible," she said, " that they should be un- 
able to play the last piece, * Tindillo's Revenge ?' 
And where is Pepa ?" 

The question was addressed to me, and I immedi- 
ately went in search of my mistress. She was not in 
her room, but in isidoro's. The actor having got over 
the excitement of the first shock now strove to* seem 
calm and even to smile, though it could be seen that 
his wrath was not yet quite extinct. 

''What an ill-timed jest, Isidoro!" said the Mar- 
quesa appearing in the doorway. '' I have not yet re- 
covered from the fright." 

" Indeed, Sefiora," said he, " it was all the fault of 
the Duchess. She played her part too well. Her ex^ 


quisite talent had the peculiarity of not merely trans- 
poiting her out of all illusion, but of carrying me with 
her. Never since I have been on the stage has such 
a thing happened to me. An English actor, they say, 
when playing Othello^ was once known to kill the 
actress who took the part of Desdemona. I used to 
think this impossible, but I now understand it may be 

" You will not withdraw * Tiurdillo's Revenge T " 

"Not for the world. We want to laugh a little, 
Senora Marquesa." 

The latter withdrew and was followed by some of 
the actor's friends, leaving him alone with Pepa and 

" Come here," said Maiquez seizing me by the arm. 
" Who gave you that letter ?" I pointed to my mis- 

" I did," said she. " I meant you to know Lesbia 

" Why did you not tell me elsewhere ? You 
brought me to the very verge of destruction ; I was on 
the point of committing a crime. My rage was so 
great on reading that note that I forgot everything, 
even in the moment when I went oflF the stage to try to 
collect myself my fury only increased, and — you 
know all that happened. When I saw her in the final 
scene I tried to control myself, but her eyes, her voice 
drove me more and more firantic; I felt myself boil- 
ing with a ferocity, a brutality which I had never 
before experienced. I remembered all her tender 


promises, her passionate declarations of love, her false 
reasoning, and for a moment it seemed to be a duty to 
punish such a monster of faithlessness and hypocrisy. 
As I unsheathed the dagger and saw that it was a steel 
blade I felt a glow of joy. — Oh, Pepa ! what a 
moment ! How it was that I did not kill her I do not 
know, or how, at that moment, I escaped ruining and 
disgracing myself for ever. If Gabriel had not thrown 
his arms round her and protected her with his body, I 
believe that at this hour — I cannot think of it !** 

" At this hour," retorted Pepa, " you would have 
been weeping over the body of your mistress, stabbed 
by your own hand." 

" No, Pepa, no ; I do not love her. As I read that 
letter every spark of love died out of me. I have no 
feeling for her now but contempt — a loathing you can 
form no idea of. I hate myself for ever having loved 
such a woman. — But tell me : was it you who 
changed the theatrical dagger for the real steel one ?*• 

" Yes, it was I." 

" Then you plotted all this 1" he exclaimed in 
amazement. " What interest — what purpose. . . .** 

" I hate her from the bottom of my heart." 

"And you wished to make me the instrument of 
your crime. You were speaking just now of an act of 
vengeance. — Why do you hate Lesbia ?" 

" I hate her because — because I do." 

" And does not the consciousness of a feeling that 
can prompt to such a crime fill you with remorse ?" 

"Remorse! A crime!" said my mistress with a 



kind of ecstasy ; and then, covering her face with her 
hands, she burst into bitter tears, exclaiming: "Oh 
God ! how wretched am I !" 

"Pepa, what is the matter? What ails you?" 
said Isidoro, sitting down by her side and drawing 
away her hands. " Then you — so you — do you 
mean. . . ." 

There was a knock at the door and a voice said : 
** The play — the farce is about to begin." 

But the two actors did not move. Pepa still wept 
and Isidoro sat in amazement. 


I THOUGHT it prudent to withdraw ; not only be- 
cause certainly no one was wanted there, but because 
a plan was seething in my mind and disturbing me 
greatly — a scheme I was bent on carrying into execu- 
tion without loss of time. I went oflf at once to Pepa's 
room where Amaranta was still, and alone. 

"Well, Gabriel," said she, "I wonder you dare 
show yourself in my presence! Do you know you 
have a very strange way of taking yourself off? I see 
you are a young scapegrace in whom no one should put 
any trust. Tell me : Is this the loyalty you are wont 
to show to those who have been kind to you ?" 

" Seiiora," said I, defying the lightnings of her eyes 
as a sailor defies the storm, " the duties which you in- 


tended me to fulfil in the Palace were not to my taste. 
If I failed to take leave of you as my mistress, it was 
because the fear of being taken prisoner compelled me 
to quit the Palace." 

<< There is no denying/' said she laughing, 'Hhat 
you made game of the lawyer Lobo with a very ready 
wit. I always said that you were a youth of promise. 
The brightest talent must remain hidden till the oppor- 
tunity offers for displaying it; and that flash of genius 
would have been splendid, perfect, if only you had 
brought me the letter." 

" It was not given to me to deliver to you." 

" It is quite clear that it never reached its owner's 
hands at any rate. Pepa took it from you, and you 
know what use she made of it. Nor did she ever 
mean that I should become possessed of it ; however, 
chance has placed it in my hands. — Do you see ?" 

" You, I suppose, will give it to me ; that letter ]& 
mine ; it is in my keeping to deliver to its owner," said 
I boldly. 

" Give it to you ? Are you mad ?" Amaranta 
exclaimed with a laugh, as though I were talking the 
wildest nonsense." 

'' Yes, Seiiora, to possess myself of that letter is to 
me a point of honor." 

'< Honor J" she repeated, laughing more than ever. 
"What honor can you make a point of? Do you 
even know the meaning of the word, child ?" 

« Why should I not know it ?" I replied " When 
you offered me the post of spy I felt the blood rise to 


my face. I fancied I could see myself at that vile 
task, cheating, shamming and lying — and I was hor- 
rified at the sight I turned hot and cold, for I, 
Gabriel, the outer man, amuse myself sometimes with 
listening to what that other inner man says to me as to 
the conduct of a gentleman, and being respectable and 
respected. When the Duchess asked me for her note 
and I could not give it her I felt the same uneasiness, 
and it struck me that by failing to give her the letter 
and letting others make a base use of it| Master 
Gabriel had proved himself a sorry fellow. If this is 
not a sense of honor may Heaven be my judge V* 

Amaranta seemed much surprised by my reasoning 
and said kindly enough : 

" Such ideas are beyond your age. There will be 
time enough when you are a little older to have all the 
sense of honor you will ever need. You are every day- 
better fitted to fulfil the tasks, duties of which I spoke 
to you. You have made good use of your experience 
in the school of the world, and a very few more lessons 
will make you perfect or I am much mistaken." 

<< I do not think that you are mistaken," I replied. 
** And so far as the lessons you gave me are cpncemed 
they seem to me to have proved very useful." 

" And you have not given up your plans of being 
— all you said ?" she asked ironically. 

^' No, Sefiora, I am faithful to my schemes," said I 
quite unruffled. ** And if all turns out for the best you 
may yet have the pleasure of seeing me a Prince, or 
perhaps even a King, in some territory provided for me 


by the ladies of the Court Where there is a will there 
is a way, as In6s would say." 

" But tell me, boy : Do you really believe that a 
General's sword or a Duke's coronet is being made for 
you to wear." 

'<As firmly as in this present night And you 
yourself, whom I have regarded as a divinity come 
down from Heaven to bless me, finally turned my 
brain by showing me how to set to work in order to 
get myself fitted with a royal mantle, or at least the 
gold lace of a General." 

" You are pleased to be ironical I — What do you 
mean ?" 

'' I mean that since you have told me that the road 
to fortune was by listening behind curtains and carry- 
ing scandal firom room to room, things have so turned 
out that I have discovered secrets without intending it ; 
and though I would gladly stop my ears the rascals in- 
sist on hearing. • • •" 

"Ahl And you wish to tell me something they 
have heard," said Amaranta complacently. " Sit down 
and speak." 

" I will do so gladly if first you will give me Ae 

" You need not hope for that." 

'^ Then I am as dumb as a statue. Instead, I will 
tell your ladyship a story, something like the one you 
told me though not so pretty. Nor did I read it in 
any old book, I only heard it — those terrible ears of 


" Begin at once/* said she with evident embarrass- 

" Fifteen years ago there was in Madrid a pretty, 
very pretty young lady, whose name — I forget her 
name. All this did not happen in a remote or ancient 
kingdom, but in Madrid ; and it has nothing to do with 
sultanas or grand or little Viziers, but only a fair young 
lady ; well, this young lady fell in love with a young 
man of good family who came to Court to seek his for- 
tune. Her parents, it would seem, disapproved of this, 
but she was desperately in love ; and as Love conquers 
all, he and the Devil arranged secret meetings between 
the young people. 

Amaranta turned pale and was dumb from sheer 

" A child was bom," I went on. 

"I do not want to hear such nonsense !" said 
Amaranta swallowing down her wrath. 

" It is a short story," I said. " The gentleman fled 
to France, fearing the consequences, and the young 
lady's parents succeeded in arranging matters so that 
nothing was ever known of this at Court. The young 
lady subsequently married a Count — Conde Lord- 
knows- who, and — that is all." 

"You are an incurable simpleton. I want no 
more of your foolish tales," said the lady, who had 
colored scarlet. 

"There is a little more to tell. Long afterwards 
some one found out the whole story, and it was dis- 
cussed in a place where I happened to be. But as T 



am inquisitive and am tiying to master the arts of 
scandal and intrigue to see if I cannot rise to be a 
General or a Prince, I do not feel satisfied with this 
gossip and I *am going to see what more I can learn 
from a woman who lives by the Manzanares, next 
door to the house of Don Francisco Goya." 

" What !*' cried Amaranta in a fury. " Get out of 
my sight, you shameless scoundrel ! What do I care 
for your monstrous stories ?" 

" Well, as such stories are of no use unless they are 
spread abroad, I intend to tell this one to the Seiiora 
Marquesa that she may help me in my enquiries. Do 
you not think that a capital idea, Senora Condesa ?" 

" I see that you imderstand how to propagate 
calumnies and the basest intrigues ; I can guess who 
has been your master. Go away, Gabriel ; you disgust 


" I am going — and I can hold my tongue ; but — 
you must give me the letter." 

" Rapacious wretch. You dare to mock me ; 
would you try to measure your base wit against 
mine ?" she exclaimed rising from her seat. 

Her decided manner somewhat dashed me ; I kept 
cool by a great effort, and went on : 

" There is no better way of achieving fortune than 
by spying and intrigue : the man who is master of im- 
portant secrets has everything in his power; con- 
sequently I shall obtain two bishoprics, eight canonries, 
twenty colonelcies, a hundred chaplaincies, and a 
thousand clerkships for all my friends." 


" Go, leave me ; I do not want to set eyes on you. 
— Do you hear ?" 

** First give me the letter. Otherwise I must carry 
my request to the Marquesa, or to the Senor your 
xincle, who, being a man of remarkable discretion, will 
mot say a word to any living creature." 

" Fool, I scorn you I" she exclaimed, feeling in her 
pocket with anxious haste. ''Take it, take the letter; 
go away, and never again come where I can see you." 

She flung the note on the floor and your humble 
servant picked it up. Then she sat down again and as 
I looked at her beautiful face she asked me : 

" Who put you up to this trick ? You are a sim- 

"But simpletons may be turned into wise men," 
said I, " given a good master. — If your ladyship had 
not expected me to be so very wide awake — A great 
deal may be learnt by seeing and hearing, Senora, and 
I have not wasted my time since I entered your lady- 
ship's service. There have been plenty of persons 
ready to open my eyes that I might see and my ears 
that I might hear. To become discreet we must begin 
by being simpletons." 

As I uttered this strange statement Amaranta 
looked at me with haughty scorn and pointed to the 
door. Yes, she was beautiful, more beautiful than ever. 
Her lofty demeanor, her cheeks — still slightly flushed, 
the sparkle of her eyes and the heaving of her bosom 
charmed my eyes — it was impossible to hate her. It 
is only too true, wickedness is sometimes fair to look 


upon. I was on the point of leaving her when the 
Duke came in with the diplomatist. 

"Here I am, Amaranta," said the Duke. "You 
were about to tell me of some cause which we did not 
know of. . . ." 

" Pay no heed to him, niece," exclaimed the Mar- 
quis. " Has he not always been disposed to be 
jealous? And he declares that in Othello^ s place he 
would do the same." 

" Yes," said the Duke. " If I suspected my wife I 
would kill her." 

"I was not referring to anything that might not 
have been mere artistic impulse," said Amaranta drily. 

" I will never allow my wife to appear on the stage 
again in company with that barbarous Othello. She 
must have suffered terribly, poor thing. But I hear 
that many things have happened in my absence. 
They even tried to put her into prison I hear. My 
poor lamb 1 How can she possibly have given them 
any excuse for such a proceeding? She is kindness 
and gentleness itself." 

"So many were suspected and entangled in the 
affair," said Amaranta. "But by my mediation she 
was at once released." 

" Thanks, dear Condesa. Lesbia, to be sure, has 
been your friend from childhood, and among friends. 
— And they will molest her no further ?" 

" No," said the old Marquis. " Happily all that is 
necessary can be extracted from the trial. Is it not so, | 
niece ?" 


" Yes. That has in fact been done with regard to 
all that relates to the Prince, as he has confessed and 
signed an act of repentance for all his errors. The 
judges know what they are about, they will suppress 
what is desirable and put the matter before the public 
in a suitable shape." 

"That is very well managed/' said the old mian,. 
^*and shows that the government have much tact. 
And how about Napoleon ?" 

"Napoleon insists that his name shall nowhere 
appear, so it has been necessary to eliminate every- 
thing ref^mring to him. Though he declares that the 
Prince wrote to him and entered into negotiations with 
his ambassador, the judges will suppress all the de- 
positions and documents in which this transpires, to 
satisfy Bonaparte." 

" Good, very good. That greatly relieves my 
mind," exclaimed the diplomatist emphatically. " And 
I will send information to that effect to Prince Bor- 
ghese, the Prince of Piombino and his Highness the 
Grand Duke of Aremberg. Of course you will con- 
sider yourselves bound not to mention my intentions to 
any one. — Do you hear, Amaranta; and you, Seiior 
Duque ? But the Duke is not to be trusted with a 
secret. Everybody says so." 

" What ?" said Amaranta. 

" As it is of the first importance that perfect secrecy 
should shroud all that takes place between myself and 
La Gonzalez. ..." 



^The Marquis has not given up his old cunning!" 
said the Duke. 

** No my dear fellow, I do not know how or when 
— I have done nothing on my part There was a 
time when Pepita gave me to understand that she 
liked me well enough. — Indeed the little hussy does 
not trouble herself to conceal it ; just now even, during 
the farce, she shot a killing glance at me again and 
again . . . And how well she acted ! I never saw h& 
brighter or so graceful, so pla3rful, so sprightly. In 
fact she will really compromise me. — Would you 
believe it, Amaranta ? I do all I can to hide it for, as 
you know, that is my way, and she — well, every one 
knows it At the end of the play I could not help 
going up to her just to say : ' £e on your guard, Pepaj; 
do not forget that discretion is the twin sister of 
Love.' So, in obedience no doubt to this hint she 
went oflf with Isidoro feigning great pleasure m his 
society. They were carrying on a great flirtation, and 
any one who knew less about it than I would have 
taken them for lovers." 

" Very likely," said Amaranta. 

I went away. When, after hunting eagerly for 
Lesbia I found her at last and gave her the letter, she 
said with much feeling as I stood looking at her : 

" Ah, Gabrielillo I You have saved my life twice 
this evening." 



I DID not want to stay there any longer. I went 
out of the house determined to avoid henceforth and 
for ever the degrading patroriage of actors and dancers, 
of intriguing ladies and of corrupt and fatuous men. 
When I found myself in the street an eager desire to 
fly to see In6s filled my whole soul. I hurried up the 
little staircase to her rooms, and as t hastened on my 
way I tore oflf the sham adornments that I had worn 
to act in. I flung away beard and whiskers, snatched 
the feathers out of my hat, tore oflf my armor, and 
Anally my sword-belt and chain. I felt them to be 
badges of dishonor in which I ought never to be seen 
in that house of peace. I went up and knocked; 
Padre Celestino opened the door to me and I saw at 
once that he had been weeping. 

" Poor Doiia Juana died at two o'clock," he said, 
in answer to my enquiries. 

The news chilled and paralyzed me; for a minute 
I stood like a statue. The silence of the grave reigned 
in the place; at the farther end of the little passage I 
saw the open door of the sitring-room lighted up with 
a ruddy glare. I went slowly forward, pressing my 
hand to my heart which throbbed as though it would 
burst my ribs. From the threshold I saw the body of 
the sainted woman, robed in black and lying on the 


bed where she had breathed her last ; her hands were 
folded in prayer, her closed eyes and the calm, sweet 
expression of her marble features gave her a look, not 
of death, but rather of that absorbed meditation — 
that mystic trance which is vouchsafed to some persons 
of ecstatic piety, like a flight of the soul to Heaven 
only to return. 

By her side, sitting on the ground, with her head 
resting in her hands and against the bed, was In^s. 
Her silent tears were the natural relief of resigned sor- 
row such as comes to those who are accustomed to 
refer all griefs and joys to the supreme Will. She did 
not even look up at me, and certainly I did not deserve 
that she should. A single wax taper, of which the 
flame flickered and danced heavenwards with a fitful 
movement, lighted the silent chamber ; the images of 
the virgins and saints which hung on the wall seemed 
to sympathize with the funereal scene and to look on 
with unwonted solemnity. 

Notwithstanding my sincere regret, as I gazed on 
the picture before me I felt a soothing influence which 
it is impossible to put into words. The calm which 
comes with a great sorrow ; the peace of mind which 
shelters suffiering — like the wings of the Angel of 
Mystery enfolding the soul as it rises, anxious and 
tremulous, from the body of sin ; the silence of the 
dead woman, above which I seemed to hear in the 
depths of my mind a distant and heavenly chorus 
of triumphant music ; the noiseless tears of the orphan, 
-jwhose humble woe accused not fate, nor chance. 


3ipr any of the monstrous divinities created by idle 
human ingenuity; the atmosphere of submission; the 
habit of peace, which not even death could scare away 
irom this house of pure consciences, of duties fulfilled, 
of religion and of rational affection — all this came to 
me like a refreshing air, like a tempered and reviving 
breeze which equalizes and stills an atmosphere dis- 
turbed by storms or agitated by opposing currents. 
Never could I more justly compare my ihind with a 
tranquil lake, unruffled and translucent — never have I 
more clearly seen into its lowest depths. I felt as 
though my limgs had for a long time been deprived of 
easy breath ; they seemed to expand and I sighed as 
though a great weight had been lifted from my soul. 

The old priest roused me from my reverie by calling 

" Poor Juana !" he began, swallowing down a tear. 
'* She did not live to see the desire of my life fulfilled." 

" What ? Then you " 

" Yes, my son ; just before she breathed her last I 
received this letter appointing me vicar of the parish 
church of Aranjuez. At length justice is done me; 
they have not deceived me this time, and I was right 
when I told you it would come this week. You see, 
Gabriel, God has come to our aid most opportunely in 
our misfortune. Ines will not be left destitute, and 
need ask Juana's relations for nothing." 

"Poor In6s!" I exclaimed. "I will devote my 
whole life to her. I will Hve for her, and for her 


" Ah T^ said the priest, "but a most strange thiag 
has happened, dear Gabriel. Do you know that 
before sHe died poor Juana revealed a secret to me, 
which I may tell you because you are almost one of 
the family." 

" What is that ?" 

" After she had confessed, she went on to tell me 
that In^s is not her daughter. It is the strangest 
story! I am bewildered, amazed. Well, In^s. is no 
child of hers but of a great lady." 

" What is this ?" cried I in astonishment. 

"As I tell you. The girVs true mother — and you 
will understand that it was one of those concealed 
affairs which are a disgrace to a proud family — her 
real mother abandoned the poor little thing — but I 
will tell you all about it at leisure." 

" But the name, the lady's name is what I chiefly 
want to know." 

"Juana would have told me, but her efforts had 
worn her out and the words died on her lips which 
were already stiff in death." 

This information agitated and bewildered me fright- 
fully ; I went back to the other room and gazed on the 
dead woman's face as if expecting that her lips would 
even yet pronounce the all-important name. 

"Great God!" thought I, lifting up my heart to 
Heaven, "is it impossible that Thou shouldst send a 
brief flash of life into tliis dead body and move its cold 
tongue to speak one single word ?" 

And in my passionate longing I almost expected 


for a moment to see the poor woman restored to my 
prayers and living to reveal to me the secret of In6s* 

" What a fool I am !" I suddenly thought. " There 
are plenty of ways of finding out." 

From that day ln6s was the ruling idea of my life. 
Even if I had not loved her before, her misfortune 
would have drawn me to her with irresistible force. I 
spent the two thousand reales on the dead woman's 
funeral and on moving Don Celestino and the orphan 
to Aranjuez, where they settled together. I returned 
to Madrid. In^s was subsequently claimed by Dona 
Juana's relations, at whose hands she suffered martyr- 
dom and humiliations of which the mere recollection 
wrings my heart. At length we thought our happiness 
was assured but sad and terrible days came upon us : 
the revolution at Aranjuez; the second of May — a 
day of strife and bloodshed; the French massacred 
numbers of victims, In^s fell into the hands of the in- 
vaders. — But strength fails me now to narrate all 
these disastrous events ; I must pause and fake breath 
before I go on with my story. 


LEON ROCH.— By B. Perez Oaldds, translated front 
the Spanish by Clara. Bell, in two volames. Price, paper. 
I1.00, doth, $1.75 per set. 

" We will not follow it in detail, or spoil the pleas- 
ure of those who like to come fresh to a story. It is 
one that satisfies the best feeling morally; the only 
lapses are artistic, and these ore in the long letter with 
which the story opens, and the long speeches of the 
interview with which it practically closes. The letter, 
which is supposed to be Maria's, repenting to Leon her 
antenuptial jealousy of Pepa, is employed to introduce 
the situation and recount the preceding facts, much as 
the first dialogue of a play used to be; and perhaps 
the Spanish preach at each other as the persons of that 
interview do, but we doubt it. In these two places, 
however, the author seems to have deposited all that 
was mistaken and tedious in his method, and the con- 
duct of the story between is as brilhant as perfect 
mastery of his material can make it. In fact, it is as 
much better than the conduct of most American and 
English stories as Spanish art is better than English 
art, than American art ; though, after saying this, it 
seems too strong, and we should like to modify it by 
advising our novelists, if they would learn how 
itate nature, to go learn of the contemporary Sp: 
— after they have learned all they can of thi 
sians." — Wiiltam Dean Howtlh, in Harper'; 
Monthly Magazine, May, r888. 
William i". GoUsberger, Publisher, New 

OIiQRIA. — A NOVEL, by bC Perez OsM^b, from the 

Spanish by Clara Bell, in two vols. Paper, $i.oo. Cloth, $1.75 

** B. Perez Gald6s is like a whirlwind, resistless as he sweeps 
everything before him, while beneath, the waters of passion foam 
and heave and are stirred to their depths. Some chapters of this 
novel are absolutely agonizing in their intensity of passion, and 
the surge and rush of words bears the reader along breathless and 
terrified, till he finds himself almost ready to cry out. In others, 
the storm is lulled and tiie plash of waves is as musical as the 
author's native tongue. In others stiU, he drones tfazoogh the 
lazy summer day, and the reader goes to sleep. Howevn-, th? 
story as a whole is stormy, and the end tragic ; yet we are lost in 
wonder at the man .who can so chjarm us. 

" It is throughout a terrible impeachment of religious intoler- 
ance. If it had been written for a people possessing the temper 
of Englishmen or of Americans we should $ay that it must mark 
an epoch in the political and religious history of the country. Even 
written as it is by a Spaniard, and for Spaniards, allowing as we 
must for Spanish impulsiveness and grandiloquence, which says a 
great deal to express a very little, we cannot but believe that the 
work is deeply significant. It is written by a young man and one 
who is rapidly rising in power and influence ; . and when he speaks 
it is with a vehement earnestness which thrills one with the coa- 
viction that Spain is awaking. 'Fresh air,' cries he, of Spain, 
'open air, free exercise under every wind that blows above or be- 
low ; freedom to be dragged and buffeted, helped or hindered, by 
all the forces that are abroad. Let her tear off her mendicant's 
hood, her grave-clothes and winding-sheet, and stand forth in the 
bracing storms of the century. Spain is like a man who is ill from 
sheer apprehension, and cannot stir for blisters, plasters, bandages 
and wraps. Away with all this paraphernalia, and the body wiH 
recover its tone and vigor.' Again : * Rebel, rebel, your intelli- 
gence is your strength. Rise, assert yourself; purge your eyes of 
the dust which darkens them, and look at truth face to face.' 
Strange language this for Spain of the Inquisition* for bigoted, 
unprogressive, Catholic Spain. The author goes to the root of 
Spanish decadence ; he fearlessly exposes her degradation and de- 
clares its cause. All students of Spanish history will find here 
much that is interesting besides the story." — T^ Yale Literary 

lliam 5. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York, 

Perez JCscrich, from die Spanish by Ad^le Josephine 
Godoy, in two volmnes. Price, paper ooverSy $iwoa Cloth 
binding, $1. 75* 

''There mast always be some difference of opinion concern- 
ing the right of the romancer to treat of sacred events and to in- 
tirodace sacred personages into his story. Some hold that any attempt 
to embody an idea of our Saviour's clMiracter, experiences, sayings 
and teachmgs in the form of fiction must have the effect of lower- 
ing our imaginative ideal, and rendering trivial and common-place 
that which in the real Gospel is spontaneous, inspired and sublime. 
But to others an historical nove) like the ' Martyr of Golgotha^ 
comes like a revelation, opening fresh vistas of thought, filling out 
blanks and making clear what had hitherto been vague and unsat- 
isfactory, quickening insieht and sympathy, and actually heighten* 
ing the conception of divine traits. The author gives also a wide 
cnrvey of the general history ot the epoch and shows the varions 
shaping causes which were infloencing the rise and development 
of tne new religion in Palestine. There is, indeed, an astonishing 
vitality and movement throughout the work, and, elaborate though 
the plot is, with all varieties and all contrasts of people and con- 
ditions, with constant shiftings of the scene, the story yet moves, 
and moves the interest of the reader too, along the rapid current 
of events towards the powerful culmination. The writer uses the 
. Catholic traditions, and in many points interprets the story iiv a. 
way which differs altogether from that familiar to Protestants : for 
example, making Mary Magdalen the same Mary who was th& 
sister of Lazams and Martha, and who sat listening at the Savionr*s 
feet. But in general, although there is a free use madp of Catho- 
lic legends and traditions, their effort is natural and pleasing. The 
romance shows a degree of a southern fervor which is foreign to 
English habit, but the flowery, poetic style — although it at first 
repels the reader — is so individual, so much a part otthe author, 
that it is soon accepted as the naive expression of a mind kindled 
and carried away by its subject, Spanish literature has of late 
given us a variety of novels and romances, all of which are in their 
way so good that we must believe that there is a new generation of 
writers in Spain who are discarding the worn-out forms and tra- 
ditions, and are putting fresh life and energy into works which 
will give pleasure to the whole world of xt.zAtxs,'** ^-^ Philadelphia^ 
American^ March 5, 1887. 


William S, Gottsberger, Publisher, New York 

PICTCTBKS OF HKLI*AS« — Five Tales of Ancient 
Greece, by Peder Mariagrer, from the Danish by Mary 
J. SafTord, in one vol. i6mo., Paper, 5octs. ; i2mo.. Cloth, 

''This Danish author, so happily introduced to the American 
public, has attempted the task of performing for the life of an- 
•cient Greece the task which Bulwer, Eckstein and Kbers have 
performed for Rome and Egypt As he says in his pre£u:e. the 
task is not easy, for in a world where human life itself was not 
highly valued there was naturally little attempt to describe its 
ordinary surroundings, and our knowledge of Greek life is gleaned 
almost entirely from chance lines, comparisons and allusions in 
•drama or history. 

*'It is a notable departure from the rule of most historical 
fiction that, with the exception of the first story, which deals with 
the almost prehistoric race of Pelasgians, the various personages 
who are brought upon the stage are selected not from the prom- 
inent figures or from the prominent classes of history, but from 
the ordinary people who composed that corrupt but brilliant world 
whose civilization has been the wonder of the ages. A runaway 
slave, a merchant sea captain, a rich young man of leisure, a 
bread merchant, a broken down actor and similar characters serve 
to display not such acts as have made the Hellenes famous, but 
such as distinguished their ordinary life, eating, drinking, sleep- 
ing, marrying, and talking politics. The author's genius is hardly 
strong enough to sustain the flight of a long novel, and he has 
had the good sense to restrict himself to short stories on simple 
themes. These he has told in such a peculiarly graphic style, ex- 
cellently copied by the translator, that they are of interest even to 
Philistines who class Homer with Aristophanes and recall only 
early lessons in definitions at the sound of such words as * ostra- 
^ze' and 'symposium.* " — Philadelphia Record. 

" There is an indescribable charm about these stories. They 
are, as it were. Alma Tadema pictures in prose, and have nothing 
garish nor false about them. The period has been diligently 
studied, even to manners of speech, and in shaping the stories the 
talent of the author is conspicuous. There is the fragrance of 
the wild thyme of Mount Hymettus about the chaste Clytie who 
loves the hero Hipyllos." — N. Y. Times. 

William S. Gottsberger, Publisher^ New York. 

FROM LANDS OF EXIIJ5.— By Pierre Loti, froia 

the French by Clara Bell, in one vol. Paper, 50 cts. Cloth, 

*• The French hav% a knack for dedications. The other dav- 
we had occasion to notice Balzac's ' Modeste Mignon/ to which 
was prefixed one of the most beautiful dedications we had ever 
read : short, pregnant, eloqaent, compressing in a sing:le para- 
graph — but a paragraph ot which Balzac alone is master — the 
concentrated adoration of a life-time. Pierre Loti, in this volume 
of charming translations, shows himself hardly less skilful in his 
introductory note, as he presents to us a brief memoir of the 
inspirer and inspiration of some of his best work — Mrs. Edward 
Lee Childe, * whose never-to-be-forgotten image rises before me, 
strangely vivid, whenever I have time to think.* Between Loti 
and this delicate, gifted Parisienne there existed sympathies of 
which we have prescience and foreshadowing in these marvellous 
sketches, — an Andromeda chained to a sofa in the Champs 
Elys^es while Perseus ran the Eastern seas, revelled in their gor- 
ejeous coloring, and brought back from them — * seas of exile' — 
impressions of the most exquisite vividness. There is true Ori- 
entalism in this book. Fragmentary as its reminiscences are, 
they are yellow with China; green with Singapore, glowing with 
Aden, penetrated with the languor and intoxication of Annam and 
Far India, tremulous with palms, grotesque with uprisen memo- 
ries of Dagoda and Buddha-worship. An officer on a French 
man-of-war in the Franco- Chinese war, Loti availed himself of his 
opportunities, and drank in that golden, stagnant, inverted sort 
of Chinese life which was afforded by Cochin China and its fan- 
tastic existence. His note-book is a net with which he captured 
butterflies, harvested impressions, wove the East into his cocoon- 
hammock, and then hatched it out for us in this argentiferous 
form. A writer who writes mother.of-pearl, who thinks opal, 
who * tools ' his thought into all sorts of precfous forms, and who 
calls his strange spoil, ' From Lands of Exile ; ' such is this 
French officer, who is at the same time a great word-artist. He 
is certainly endowed with the * fruitful river of the eye,* with a 
retina of rare sensitiveness, with a sense of vision that dilates 
your own almost to pain ; what he sees you see twice over : for 
yourself and through him. China has passed through many 
rarely gifted psychological organizations ; but it has never before 
emerged so itself, so prismatic, so alive as a chameleon is alive, 
with Its great yellow goblinlike picturesqueness." — TAe Critic* 

Wiiiiam S. Gpttsberger^ Publisher ^ New Yark^ 

POBBIS, by Bose Terry Cooke^ m one tolume X2ma, 
Cloth, $1.50. 1 

" In writing of hei, we recall the appreciative words 1 
of Mrs. Harriet Prescott SpojSford,* who wrote of Mrs. ' 
Cooke : 

' It is genius that informs every line Rose Terry has ever writ- 
ten, — a pure and lofty genias that bamed with a white flame in 
such subtle metaphysical reveries as " My Tenants,'* and ** Did 
I ? " and showed its many-colored light in brief bits of poetic 
romance, and in a succession of stories of New England. life. 
One marvels how such a genius became the ultimate expression 
•of generations of hard Puritan ancestry, as one marvels to set 
after silent flowerless years some dry and prickly cactus stem 
burst out into its sudden flaming flower.' 

" The poetic temperament, sensitive to all influences, 
mirroring impressions, swift to translate feeling into ex; 
pression, is pre-eminently that of Rose Terry Cooke. 
A singularly intense and passionate love of beauty ; an 
insight into spiritual moods, fine and unerring; deep 
sympathy with all human experience, characterize her 
poems. She has beside these an added gift of graphic 
description that is a purely pictorial art. With this 
power of profoundly realizing and sjonpathizing with 
all human experiences; with her wonderful color and 
grouping that produces the perfect picture, and her 
lyric gift — true singer that she is — we find in Rose 
Terry Cooke the poet bom and to some extent, — ^made," 
Boston Evening Traveller, 

William S, Gottsberger, Publisher^ New York, 

THC STOBY OF JEWAD.— A Romance, 1>y# All 
Aziz CSfendi, the Cretan. Translated from the Turkish 
by E. J. W. Gibb, M.R.A.S.| in one vol. i2mo. Price, 
Paper, 60 cts. Cloth, $i.oa 

"When one steps from a soberly- furnished modem drawing- 
room into a cave whose walls are ablaze with jewels and whose 
air is thrilled with the music of lutes played by houris whose 
beauty is <'the despair of the world/' one may be pardoned for 
having no very definite appreciation of surrounding objects. And 
"Vvhen the reviewer drops unvarnished chronicles of every-day life 
to take up a volume blazing and fragrant with the most gorgeous 
imagery of the East he may be pardoned i( he stand, * the finger 
of bewilderment m the mouth, * to quote an expressive Turkish 
phrase, not quite certain as to what it were safe to say. The 
present tale — as we learn from its preface, for as to Orientalism 
of our own, heaven save us from such erudition ! — is one of those 
which constitute the extant literary remains of Ali Aziz Efendi, 
who in his day was famous as a diplomat and man of letters, and 
who died while on some ambassadorial errand to Prussia in 1799. 
The book, it may be said in a word, is a sort of 'New Arabian 
Nights;' doubtless mor» authentic and rather less interesting 
than Mr. Stevenson*s famous effort in that direction. 

"Like the wonderful work of Chinese artificers in ivory, who 
carve ball within ball, all of like exquisite finish, the story of Jewad 
is tale within tale, incident unfolding in incident, and all as perme- 
ated with the sensual gorgeousness of Oriental fancy as is a box, 
where attar of rose has been spilt, with the perfume. Its style is 
easily cloying to the Western reader, and yet most satisfying to 
the Western reader, in those occasional moments when he covets 
something richer, more splendid, more vivid than can have birth 
under our colder skies. It is a book in which an imaginative 
child might delight himself a winter through ; and unlike the 
''Arabian Nights," which in most else it so much resembles, it is 
a book which does not need expurgation before it can bear such 
a child safe company. It is curious to note the almost identity of 
certain of its Oriental superstitions with those once rife in most 
antipodal New England,— such as the making an image of one's 
enemy and variously torturing it, to the end that similar tortures 
may afflict the object of hate, a practice far from uncommon in 
Salem witchcraft days. '* — Boston Daily Advertiser, 

William S. Gottsbergery Publisher^ New York, 

WAR AND PEACE. A Historical Novel, by Ccmnt Ltoa 
Tolstoi, translated into French by a Russian Lady and from the 
French by Clara Bell. Authorised EdiHon, Complete, Three 
Parts in Box. Paper, $3.00. Cloth, $5.35. Half calf, $12.00. 
Part I* Before Tilslty 1805 — 2807, in two volumes. Paper, $z.o(x 
Cloth, $1.75 per set. 
** II. The InrastoB, 1807—18x2 in two voltmies. Paper, $i.oqi> 

Cloth, $1.75 per set. 
''HI* BorodlnOy The French at Hoseow— Bpilogve, i8ia — 1890^ 
in two volumes. Paper, $z.oo. Cloth, $1.75 per set. 

• •• 


'* A story of Russia in the time of Napoleon's wars. It is a 
story of the family rather than of the field, and is charming in its 
delineations of quaint Russian cnstoms. It is a novel of absorb- 
ing interest, fnU of action and with a well managed plot; a 
book well worth reading.'' — Philadelphia Enquirer, 

*'The story of 'War and Peace' ranks as the greatest of 
Slavic historical novels. It is intensely dramatic in places and 
the battle scenes are marvels of picturesque description. At 
other points the vein is quiet and philosophical, and the reader 
is held by the soothing charm that is in complete contrast with 
the action and energy of battle." — Observer^ Utu^^ N, Y. 

'* War and Peace is a historical novel and is extremely inter- 
esting, not only in its description of the times of the great inva- 
sion eighty years ago, but in its vivid pictures of life and character 
in Russia." — Journal of Commerce, New York, 

** On general principles the historical novel is neither valua- 
ble as fact nor entertaining as fiction. But ' War and Peace' is 
a striking exception to this rule. It deals with Uie most impres- 
sive and dramatic period of European history. It reproduces a 
living panorama of scene, and actors, and circumstance idealized 
into the intense and artistic life of imaginative composition, and 
written with a brilliancy of style and epigrammatic play of 
thought, a depth of significance, that render the stay one of 
the most fascinating ana absorbing." — Boston Evening Thn/elUr, 

WfH. S. Gottsberger^ Publisher^ New York. 

i 393 J 


1 ■'/ 


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